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Science sans frontiers: STEM subjects travel the world

April 19, 2012

Global collaborationThe Brazilian government has pledged $2bn to encourage students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by launching its Science Without Borders programme.

This initiative will provide undergraduates with scholarships to spend a year studying courses abroad in one of the STEM subjects. The news comes at the same time as our House of Lords is analysing the issues around immigration and STEM in higher education. For more on that debate, see coverage of yesterday’s ministerial evidence hearing by fellow PST blogger Adam Smith. Read more…

What’s next in the Valley of Death? You decide

April 18, 2012
Bridging the Valley of Death

You get to pick the next issue from the Valley of Death to be explored on PST

Hearings for the Commons inquiry into bridging the valley of death between research and commercialisation began today with a session that covered vacuum cleaners, graphene and Stevenage. The video is already available.

In the background of the video, you can see a PST blogger sending tweets, collated in this Storify.

Here are some of the most interesting propositions put forward by witnesses. Which do you think is most worthy of further investigation? If you tweet us @PSTtweets or leave a comment below, we’ll take a look into the most popular idea.

Read more…

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

April 18, 2012
  1. Share
    First HC S&T SC hearing today on Bridging the Valley of Death will be tweeting #valleyofdeath #scipolicy
    Wed, Apr 18 2012 02:37:57
  2. Share
    Valley of Death evidence today @PSTtweets will be doing live tweets (im in meetings all am) #valleyofdeath #scipolicy
    Wed, Apr 18 2012 03:26:46

Walk with me into the Valley of Death

April 18, 2012

The House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology is holding its first hearing in the inquiry into “Bridging the Valley of Death” this morning. I’ll be there to pull out all the funding nuggets, such as how on Earth the Catalyst Fund is doing.

Follow @PSTtweets on Twitter for regular updates throughout the morning.

New Met Office supercomputer proves reputation is everything

April 17, 2012

Super cash required for supercomputer at the Met Office

Here’s a science funding announcement that almost flew by like a sparrow in a hurricane: £60m for a snazzy supercomputer at the Met Office.

While the new toy was originally recommended by the Commons science and technology committee to improve weather forecasting, the government appears to have made the purchase on behalf of the UK’s international prestige in climate research. The supercomputer will join the Hadley Centre, a largely government-funded institute focused on climate science.

Read more…

Willetts falls for “EPSRC propaganda” on bid criteria

April 12, 2012

There’s a brilliant example of science funding lobbying over at Paul Clarke’s Sheer Lunacy blog, in which Clarke used a foot-in-the-door he had with David Willetts to complain about the EPSRC.

Clarke argues against the EPSRC’s practice of rejecting applications in certain areas within the EPSRC’s remit or those from researchers who have submitted too many applications.

Read more…

UK space research in £6m boost

April 10, 2012

The government has pledged an extra £6m to four space projects that will help to further commercialise space research.

The four projects include:

  • NextGen Telecommunications satellite platform (nice name for the Star Trek fans);
  • a suitcase-sized satcom terminal for broadband services;
  • a service for measuring land carbon stocks and fluxes; and
  • preparing for the planned UK NovaSAR aperature radar mission

Read more…

Hitachi warms to government’s £100m heat programme

April 10, 2012

Tech company Hitachi has signed up to the UK government’s £100m project to manage and reduce demand for heat. The news was announced during the visit of David Cameron and David Willetts to Japan, Hitachi’s home country.

Read more…

MRC: No shortage of funding for bird flu research

April 4, 2012

The prospect of redactions and restricted dissemination hangs over bird flu research. But what about funding? According to the head of the Medical Research Council, which has more than tripled funding for flu research since 2004/5, cashflow won’t be a problem.

John Savill made the comments at a special conference convened in London this week to discuss the matter of research papers that were initially blocked from publication in Nature and Science due to biosecurity concerns. He explained that the MRC spends £12 million on flu research – and described this as “for us, a significant amount of money”.

Read more…

The £50m gamble: Big Society leads cancer research across valley of death

April 2, 2012
Bridging the valley of death in cancer research

Bridging the valley of death in cancer research

Dovetailing with the government’s otherwise-stalled Big Society agenda, the third sector is now stumping up both cash and fuel for commercialisation in cancer research.

The story is that Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology, and  the European Investment Fund are planning to bridge the valley of death with £50m so that cancer drug discovery can trot straight over to the other side into development and commercialisation.
Read more…