Sitting awake after another nocturnal coughing fit (will this darned cold never shift?) in the early hours of the day in which the Government’s Spending Review details will be announced, I notice that the BBC is reporting that the civil science research budget is to be cut by “only” 10% over four years (Science cuts ‘less than feared’). Still bad, but I guess we will feel a sense of relief after the Government spin of recent weeks. As the BBC report says, the Royal Society submission to the Government earlier this year said:
A 10% cut would “fundamentally damage the quality, productivity and capability of the UK’s research base”.
I guess the quality of the Government’s spin doctors is revealed by the sense of relief that the cuts will be ‘only’ 10%.
Still of concern is where the cuts will fall. The BBC’s report says that the Medical Research Council may lose least as it’s viewed to fund research that fits “national priorities”, while those funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council may be more worried. No mention of the BBSRC in the report.
Still, while the USA and other competitor nations raise their research budgets (in terms of % GDP), we are taking the opposite direction.
See also Spin Spin Spin.