More science talk and politics stuff

The astronomy and particle physics funding council the STFC, has had a recent meeting, including various issues to do with funding. In a summary of the minutes of the council meeting, they obliquely mention the furor over the two CEOs, that of the RAEng, who is a part of the managing structure of the STFC and whose organisation criticised part of the STFC’s funding area, and the CEO of the quango itself, who hasn’t made himself popular during his term in office. Of the first CEO, STFC reiterates that all members of the science board must remain objective. Apparently, they can do that by command. On the second CEO, his term is due to expire in March 2012 and he never intended to seek to extend it.

The Science Minister, David Willetts has responded to the reports of the Science and Technology Select Committees in the House of Commons and the one in the Lords of the last parliament. The Commons one had created a report on the impact of spending cuts on science. The Lords one spoke about priorities in science. Of the first, Willetts stated the government hopes to have a robust system in place after completion of the spending review. Of the latter, he alluded to the difficulties of assessing financial and cultural impact and noted that the government has delayed bringing in any assessment of such things for a year to see if it is possible to find a method of doing such an assessment.

STFC may have cancelled all postdoctoral fellowships outside of those included in grants, but ESA has a few on offer that newly graduating doctors might want a look at.

For those who wonder why I would want to mix up science, politics and blogging in these types of post, it might be interesting to go over to Nature, the premier international scientific journal (a bit of UK bias there as Science, the US journal also claims the title) has a review of planetary science in which it states the field was energised by a mixture of… politics and computers with the science. A brief synopsis (review of the review) is here.

Finally, if there’s anyone out there who’d like to make the leap into the world of science journalism and is in the right part of the world, Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism is offering a masters degree allowing those with either a strong journalism background, but little science or those with a strong science background, but little journalism, to bring themselves up to scratch on both accounts.


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