STFC Grants Consultation

I thought I’d put my community service badge on today and draw the attention of any astronomers or particle physicists reading this blog that the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is consulting on proposed changes to the ways it funds research grants. I can hardly over-emphasize the importance of this issue, especially for those of us working in University departments who rely on grant funding in order to carry out our research.

There is a consultation form on which you can post comments on the alternatives outlined in the accompanying document.

Regrettably, only three options are offered. In brief, they are

  1. All grants to be 3-year “standard” grants (i.e. no more “rolling” grants at all)
  2. Some (a small number?) of 6-year “core” grants introduced, mainly to cover the cost of technical support staff.
  3. The status quo (i.e. mixture of 3-year “standard” and 5-year “rolling” grants).

I’m not going to comment on these here, as my intention is just to draw your attention to the fact that this consultation is open and that the deadline is very soon: Monday 6th September 2010, at 4pm. I would have thought it’s probably a good idea for groups to submit collective responses where possible, but I’m sure all feedback would be welcomed.

We don’t know how much of a grant programme will remain after the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, but it’s even more important to make the system as efficient and fair as possible when we know money is going to be tight.


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3 Responses to “STFC Grants Consultation”

  1. […] is quite soon – September 6th, otherwise known as the coming Monday. His Darkness has also plugged it, and explains a little […]

  2. Bryn Jones Says:

    To my eyes, there is only one rational option: the preservation of the current system.

    The research community in Britain is beset by a severe short-termism. Five-year rolling grants lessen the impact of this. Some departments even use their rolling grants to create positions akin to fellowships where the persons appointed can choose their own research programmes, unlike most three-year PDRA positions. Any loss of this potential would be significantly detrimental to the British resaerch community.

    I trust the feedback provided by university departments will take this attitude.

  3. […] sent out a consultation document to its “community”, in which departments were asked to comment on three proposals for a new system of research grant […]

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