Cuts and investment

Prepare for a news sandwich…

Good News!

The US House of Representatives has, on the third asking, approved funding for research development under the COMPETES Act. The Act essentially encapsulates the case for increased science funding as a way to grow the economy. The full name is the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act and it was first signed into being in 2007. This round was a renewal of the funding in the original act, which goes toward increased research funding, visas for skilled workers, a trained teacher corps and R&D tax credits.

Not so Good News!

The President of the Royal Society has suggested that the cuts and present level of science funding are making the UK uncompetitive in the scientific skills labour market. In the Times report, John Womersley, director of science programmes at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the research council in charge of UK Physics and Astronomy tried to portray his council as a model of austerity (due to the cuts imposed over the past four years due to financial mismanagement and incompetent actions at various levels of government). Unsurprisingly, Jim Al-Khalili, a professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, also holds the STFC up as a model – of the worst that can happen when funding goes bad. The Times also carried a couple of profiles of people forced out of science due to the actions of the STFC. It is not hard to find names for such reports.

Good News!

But at least someone’s headed for the Moon. A Japanese Government panel are putting together the final touches of a rough plan for a base on the Moon. The base will have solar panels and protection against the worst the solar wind can throw at it, but it will not (initially at least) be designed for human occupation – it is a Moon base for Robots.

Rumours David Willetts has tasked the same panel to create a new STFC are entirely unfounded.


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