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Departmental science budgets not always controlled by CSAs

May 11, 2012
Defra's Bob Watson

Bob Watson: in control of Defra’s research spend

In his role as chief scientific advisers (CSA) to Defra, Bob Watson has £1 million with which to commission research on any issue containing science that he wishes to challenge. When GO Science worked on its foresight study of food and farming, Watson tested the robustness of its projected food prices. “I use my £1 million to challenge where I think there are significant uncertainties,” he said last October as he gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee during its inquiry into the role of CSAs.

The Lords eventually recommended that all CSAs are allocated “a dedicated, ring-fenced fund by their departments to enable them, where they judge necessary, to commission research or to convene groups of experts”.

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Purse String Theory shortlisted for BBC award!

May 10, 2012

The BBC is running a postgraduate student journalism innovation award – and PST has made the shortlist!

The winner will be announced at the Connecting Communities Conference on May 24 at BBC Media City in Salford. Maybe we should check out how the graphene commercialisation project at the University of Manchester is coming along while we’re up there…

Thanks to the entire PST community for your support, your tweets, your comments, your input, your opinions – the whole nature of this blog is based around the community discussion, so thank you.

We’ll let you know how we get on come May 24. For now, stay tuned for some delicate science funding news tomorrow…

Businessmen! In an adventure with scientists!

May 7, 2012

Pirates film poster

Full details of how the £180m Biomedical Catalyst will work have appeared, with events planned for real-life networking between scientists and the business people who hope to commercialise their research.

It sounds just like the latest film from Aardman Animations, only with business owners in the role of the pirates.

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On funding and scientific expertise in a democracy

May 3, 2012

Scientists are political, just not very active. That’s one of the contentions that has been put to me recently as I conduct my research for a series of articles that will begin on the Guardian website tomorrow. The series will explore how science gets into parliament, but here I wanted to pick up on the funding implications of scientists not being very active.

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Coming soon: a PST spin-off blog for the Guardian

April 27, 2012

Dear readers,

Coming soon: PST-flavoured articles for The GuardianI’m delighted to announce that I’ll soon be producing a series of articles for the Guardian, covering topics related to, and broader than, those I’ve been focused on here at Purse String Theory.

This means that, as always, I’ll be collecting opinions and stories from the science policy community. I’m very excited about how PST readers and @PSTtweets followers will be able to help.

More news next week!

Part 2: MPs question experts on how to bridge the scientific research commercialisation valley of death

April 27, 2012
  1. Share
    About to start evidence session 2 of #valleyofdeath inquiry, with the right Anne Glover 😉 #scipolicy
    Wed, Apr 25 2012 04:16:24
  2. Share
    First panel of witnesses here to talk about investing in science and technology #valleyofdeath #scipolicy
    Wed, Apr 25 2012 04:17:45
  3. Share
    Follow @xmalik today for live tweets from the HCSC S&T #valleyofdeath hearing!
    Wed, Apr 25 2012 04:17:58
  4. Share
    @xmalik Indeed – here’s live coverage of the #valleyofdeath hearing
    Wed, Apr 25 2012 04:21:02
  5. Read more…

Activist: “Dissatisfaction has been brewing for a long time”

April 26, 2012

Here’s the latest on the debate over the nascent Science for the Future lobby group and its forthcoming protest against the EPSRC, planned to land in Parliament Square on May 15. The words below constitute a kind of mission statement I received from Professor Stephen Clark, who’s one of the two directors of the new group.

Much of the discussion on your blog seems to revolve around the issue of why we need a new campaigning group. Clearly, the spark that has ignited the current campaign is the EPSRC Capability Shaping exercise, but for many of us involved in forming Science for the Future our dissatisfaction has been brewing for a very long time.

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