A message from Gordon

February 7, 2008

I just got an email from 10 Downing Street .. mind you, so, I think, did everybody who signed the “stop physics cuts” petition. This is what it says :

You recently signed a petition relating to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC): http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Physics-Funding/

You may wish to know that the STFC issued a statement on its funding plans today – you can read the statement on the STFC website by going to:



Downing Street petitions

Petition information – http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Physics-Funding/

If you would like to opt out of receiving further mail on this or any other petitions you signed, please email optout@petitions.pm.gov.uk

The petition now has 16,232 signatures and is the 11th most popular out of 8000 petitions currently active. Amazing.

Meanwhile everybody I know is trying to decode the somewhat Delphic statements that the STFC announcements are sprinkled with. Its a real tease.

For weeks we have all been living in fear of the “Programmatic Review”, waiting to hear if our favourite projects/facilities – UKIRT/UKIDSS, AstroGrid in my case – have been cancelled. PPAN and Science Board made the list weeks ago …On January 28th there was “news from Science Board” but this only described the process. The rumours I heard were that the next step would be publishing a ranked list – but without the crucial dotted dividing line. But when the news emerged today, in four related announcements, it still didn’t give us the answer – there are lots of warm words about Innovation Centres , but no ranked list. Apparently this comes at the end of February .. and then there will be a “community consultation period”. For this read “savage interlude of competitive lobbying”. Ain’t gonna be pretty.