RAS appoints Policy Officer
For the first time in its nearly 200 year history, the Society has created a position to assist with the development of policy.
The RAS, increasingly, has had to become involved in public policy issues relating to the funding and structure of astronomy and geophysics teaching and research in the UK, the career interests of the professional community and the future of scholarly publishing. In the past 3 years, for example, it has made submissions to the Science and Technology Committees of the House of Commons and House of Lords, the House of Commons Transport Committee, OFCOM, the EU, the DTI and the Research Councils on respectively space policy, strategic science provision, science teaching, Ultra Wideband, scientific publications, ‘Galileo’ and the future of PPARC and issued reports on Planetary Science Policy, Human Space Exploration, PhD Training and Careers in Astronomy and the Teaching of Geophysics in UK Universities.
A major preoccupation over the next months is the impact of the current Comprehensive Spending Review on astronomy and geophysics research post- 2008.
Accordingly, to strengthen the Society’s capacity to engage in policy discussions and thereby influence decisions affecting the future of astronomy and geophysics in the UK, Dr Robert Massey has been appointed to the new position of RAS Policy Development Officer. He will facilitate the creation and ( on the departure, at the end of February, of RAS Press Officer Peter Bond, whose portfolio he will also acquire) the promotion of Society reports, reviews, policy statements, evidence to enquiries etc.
Dr Massey, who is presently Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, takes up his appointment on November 20th 2006.