News Picks : Report warns that funding restrictions threaten UK research capabilities
27 March 2014
Nature: Last year the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which oversees research in astronomy, particle physics, and nuclear physics, organized a panel of scientists to evaluate the effect that continued budget restrictions would have on the nation’s research efforts. The report, which was given to the government prior to its budget proposal for 2015–16, has just been released to the public. It indicates that the core budget for the STFC has not been increased since 2010 and that “flat cash” funding has failed to keep pace with inflation, resulting in a 32% decline in actual purchasing power. Despite the report’s findings, the government’s new budget maintains the flat cash funding, which the report suggests will seriously harm the UK’s ability to maintain leadership in scientific research. However, the government has decided to follow some of the other suggestions in the report, such as increasing its funding allocations for new facilities and large equipment and for international collaborations.