Archive for December 20, 2010

The STFC Delivery Plan

Posted in Science Politics with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by telescoper

Excuse the very quick and sketchy post on such an important topic, but I’ve got a lot of things to do before the dreaded Christmas lunch.

This morning the allocations of funding for the research councils were announced. The statement accompanying the ensuing Delivery Plan for the Science and Technology Facilities Council can be found here, while the plan itself is here. You’ll probably also want to read Paul Crowther’s analysis here.

Other research councils have also published their plans; you can find the one for EPSRC here.

The headline announcement reads:

After transferring responsibility for space science to the UK Space Agency, STFC’s overall baseline allocation for 2011-12 for resource funding (previously termed “near-cash”) is £377.5m rising to an allocation of £381.14m in 2014-15. This excludes administration which will be separately allocated. Our capital baseline allocation for 2011-12 is £91m, with an indicative allocation for the remainder of the spending review period reducing to £68m in 2014-15.

So not at all bad news for resource funding, but the implications of the capital cut are unclear (at least to me).

I haven’t had time to read the entire document, but did have a quick look at the crucial Appendix D which shows how each discipline is expected to fare:

  • Particle Physics expenditure will rise from £133M to £148M over 4 years
  • Astronomy expenditure will fall from £77M to £69M over the same period
  • Expenditure on Synchtron facilities (e.g. Diamond Light Source) will increase from £42M to £56M.

Within an approximately flat-cash settlement, therefore, Astronomy is a clear loser (although much of the cuts in expenditure relate to decisions already made, such as withdrawal from the Gemini Telescopes). Confusingly, much of the increase in Particle Physics expenditure relates to an increase in the CERN subscription, which I thought was supposed to be falling …

As far as I understand it, the plan also maintains grant funding at the current level (although it will move into the new consolidated grant system as quickly as this can be achieved).

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time for right now, and comments/reactions/corrections/clarifications are very welcome through the box below.


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