Judge Willis Reports

April 30, 2008

If you are a UK astronomer or particle physicist, then two possible positions pertain. (a) You have been in a coma. (b) You are perfectly well aware that a Parliamentary Select Committee has been digging into the recent Science Budget Allocations. Paul Crowther has all sorts of details, and my own reports of the hearings are here, here, and here . Well … they have finally completed their deliberations and published a report. If you were expecting a whitewash, think again. Its pure Semtex.

Quotes from the summary :

“… 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.”

“In STFC itself, we found weaknesses in its peer review system, its communications and its management.”

“We recommend that STFC wait for the results of the Wakeham review of physics before implementing the cuts proposed in the Delivery Plan and that it use this time to consult with its stakeholders”

“…substantial and urgent changes need to be made to the way in which the Council is run in order to restore confidence and to give the Council the leadership it desperately needs.”

Wow. As you would expect, STFC have issued a firm riposte which you will find at the STFC website. I am trying to decide whether the right comparison is Geoff Boycott or Edith Piaf …