Report to funding council warns UK could lose leading international position.
26 March 2014
Physics research in the land of Isaac Newton and Peter Higgs faces a “catastrophic” future and the United Kingdom will “lose leadership and credibility” on the world stage if current levels of funding continue, according to a panel of experts. Their report was completed last year at the request of the country’s major funder and released today.
The stark warning was produced by a board of independent scientists for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which distributes government money for astronomy, particle physics and nuclear physics. The STFC used the report in negotiations with the government over its budget for 2015/16. But despite the expert panel’s claim that “the consequences of further constraining the [STFC] programme over a prolonged period of time would be catastrophic”, the core budget for the council was not increased by the government in its latest allocations, announced in February (see ‘English research gets cuts reprieve as ministers hit teaching’). This continuing ‘flat cash’ scenario — a budget trend that did not keep pace with inflation — since 2010 has led to severe belt tightening across academia…
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