CCLRC-PPARC Response to 'next steps'
The new Research Council, they say, will be science-driven. Its focus will be to enable world class science to be undertaken by UK citizens using cutting edge technologies, wherever they are located in the world, and to use this knowledge to generate innovation and wealth creation.
• There are three main reasons for merging the two existing Councils, namely:
o Creating a more integrated approach to large facilities, including international negotiations, for long term projects involving several countries acting together;
o Obtaining more value from the knowledge and technologies that are developed as a result of the Council’s programmes;
o Bringing together both of the above goals using the two Science and Innovation Campuses at Harwell and Daresbury as identifiable international knowledge transfer centres which host UK based large scale international facilities.
• A key feature of the Council will be to integrate long term strategic planning and international operational expertise in a transparent way in order to ensure that the UK is able to take the lead and is pro-active where new opportunities arise.
• The Council will be “new” and build on best practice that exists in PPARC and CCLRC at present. It will not be a takeover by one or the other.
• There are two distinct groups of academic stakeholders that need to be catered for by the new Research Council. One group is typified by large well organised international collaborations and focuses on long term projects such as the LHC at CERN and large ground- and space-based telescopes. The other is disparate and needs access to large facilities such as those producing synchrotron radiation, laser radiation or neutrons. This latter group consists of physical, biological, environmental and forensic scientists who do not commonly have a unified opinion on what facilities should be developed for their benefit in the future.
• The grant funding responsibility for the first group, where there is an intimate linkage between the design and development of facilities and the exploitation of them, generally involving a long timescale and requiring an integrated strategy with international partners, should be within the remit of the new Council. Funding for the latter group should continue to be provided by their respective Research Councils.
The full statement can be read here . The RAS will be responding to this statement in due course