Trouble at the top

In my email this morning was a message of support for UK astronomy from a concerned citizen. Perhaps they had heard an interview on the Today Programme with Professor Brian Cox or seen the news coverage on the BBC, in the Times, in the Guardian and elsewhere. What made this particular Wednesday special is that the Parliamentary Select Committee of MPs that were investigating the STFC funding crisis have just released their report. I haven't had chance to read it myself yet but I hear that it makes interesting reading and is not a whitewash.

Of course, we should remember that Professor Keith Mason probably never wanted the crisis he is presiding over; the problem arises from the merger of PPARC and CCLRC and the subsequent funding settlement that the newly created (and unable to defend itself) STFC received from the Government.

"… in merging two Research Councils, one research community has been saddled with the debt of another, despite assurances from the Government that STFC would be formed without any legacy issues." - Select Committee Report

Of course, the management of the crisis and lack of communication within STFC and the rest of the scientific community is the responsibility of the STFC management. As always, check out Paul Crowther's renowned wesite for the full, gory details about the crisis.

I hope the situation improves soon and everyone can get back to doing some real science.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 30th Apr 2008 (09:47 BST) | Permalink
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