A message from Gordon

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:

http://www.scitech.ac.uk/PMC/PRel/STFC/CouncilPR010208.aspx

Regards,

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.

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5 Responses to A message from Gordon

  1. Ian says:

    That was my reading of the messages too, Andy. It’s going to be ugly – this will keep a cloud over our heads for months. It makes one wonder why they bothered asking for volunteers for redundancy by January, since no-one can be laid off until the programme and required skills are known. Yet more evidence, if it were needed, that the big cheeses at STFC are out of their depth.

  2. Kav says:

    IF that is the extent of the reply to the petition then I am thoroughly unimpressed.

    I am not sure that any of the recently released material really says anything we were not aware of. It’s more of a ‘look at us, we are doing things’ for people who aren’t really following the process.

  3. Don says:

    I couldnt believe it either! i think we were all nieve, could we really have expected gordon to slag off stfc and its executives? I think not. At the risk of sounding cynical, 16000 (votes) spread around the UK – why should gordon care.

    I got a nice letter from a Mr Pearson via my mp who lobbied on my behalf. He explained that as there were some “loosers” in the reorganisation process there would be a few complaints – but then thats to be expected. I guess what he meant was that the astro/particle community is really quite small…..

  4. andyxl says:

    I think you underestimate the importance of the petition. Sixteen thousand petitioners implies a much larger number of people who think “thats not right”. Of course the OFFICIAL response is a brush off, but behind the scenes DIUS will be very embarassed by all the fuss, and somebody will be saying “fix this !” which COULD mean “spin it away” or COULD mean “slip them some money by the back door”. Money via the front door would lose too much face. Lets all just hope the back-door-money idea works.

  5. […] most of you did too..) I wrote about Gordon’s initial response to the famous petition in this post. Here is the text of the final response : You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to […]

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