LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
1. We urge the Royal Society to investigate
more streams of funding, using its prestige and grant-in-aid as
leverage (paragraph 10).
2. We consider that those learned societies
who have accepted responsibility for the membership of these international
discipline-based unions should have their proportion of the UK
subscription met from OST funds, just as the Royal Society's share
is paid from its grantinaid (paragraph 16).
3. The majority of learned societies were
happy to remain largely privately funded, fearing that government
funding might interfere with their independence (paragraph 28).
4. We do not think that receipt of government
funds compromises the independence of those societies which benefit
from it (paragraph 28).
Equity of funding
5. The relative age of institutions does not
seem a sensible basis for determining their funding. Funding should
reflect the work they do (paragraph 29).
6. Government should provide a central fund
to which learned societies could bid, but they would need to be
prepared to submit financial plans and be aware that such funding
would require demonstrable outcomes and accountability (paragraph
7. The present funding of scientific learned
societies appears to be haphazard rather than the product of strategic
thinking on the part of the OST. The Government must consider
how funding could be distributed more effectively and rationally
Research fellowships and awards: features
8. We suggest that the Research Councils should
consider introducing into their research fellowships those features
of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering's awards
which are seen as praiseworthy, such as extending their fellowships
beyond five years on a regular basis and being willing to fund
more 'blue skies' thinking. It would also be of benefit if they
were to develop a mentoring scheme to support research fellows
9. We call upon the Royal Society and the
Royal Academy of Engineering to consult academics other than their
own Fellows during the peer review process, where there is not
sufficient expertise within their own bodies (paragraph 38).
10. We urge the Royal Society, the Royal Academy
of Engineering and the Research Councils to ensure that all their
research fellowships and other awards contain 'family friendly'
features (paragraph 39).
Research fellowships and awards: representation
11. We recommend that all awarding bodies
make an effort to publicise those aspects of their awards which
may appeal to female researchers, in an attempt to increase the
numbers of female applicants for all research awards. They should
undertake a reassessment of selection procedures, in order to
identify possible obstacles to the success of female applicants
12. We urge the Royal Society to encourage
applications for its University Research Fellowships from all
institutions (paragraph 41).
13. The Royal Society must ensure that its
research awards represent the whole scientific community, without
undue weight in any one area (paragraph 42).
Research fellowships and awards: funding
14. We would like to see more effort made
by those awarding publicly-funded grants and awards to isolate
administration costs in order to identify the cost efficiency
of their schemes (paragraph 43).
15. In our view, the government funding of
grant and award programmes managed by the Royal Society and the
Royal Academy of Engineering should be maintained (paragraph 44).
Learned societies and research awards
16. Most scientific learned societies do not
have the administration capability or review processes in place
to operate their own research awards. The effort required would
divert them from their primary purpose, to serve their scientific
communities through support for the discipline and the dissemination
of knowledge (paragraph 46).
17. We are not clear why some of the British
Association's government funding is routed through the Royal Society.
We recommend that, in the interests of clarity, the OST should
give funding directly to the British Association (paragraph 52).
Public communication work: learned societies
18. Those learned societies which carry out
public communication work are to be commended for what they undertake
with such limited funding (paragraph 54).
19. The Copus episode is revealing of a gulf
in perception [between the Royal Society and outsiders] (paragraph
20. A strategic body is badly needed in the
field of public communication of science. Copus, if reformed as
has been suggested by Lord Sainsbury, the Jamieson Report and
the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, would serve
this purpose admirably. We call on the OST to make every effort
to ensure that this happens (paragraph 62).
21. We believe that Copus should be made entirely
independent of the Royal Society, the Royal Institution and the
British Association, receive its funding directly from OST and
that it should find new premises as soon as possible (paragraph
Public communication work: funding and strategy
22. We believe that the system of grants to
learned societies for their public understanding work should be
formalised, in order both to monitor better the total spending
on public communication projects and to ensure that each society
has an opportunity to benefit from these funds. We recommend that
OST create a central fund for public understanding work administered
by a single organisation, to which learned societies could bid
for funding for specific projects (paragraph 63).
23. We recommend that OST, or a body set up
to co-ordinate public communication work, assess the work carried
out by those to whom the Government gives funding, to identify
the success stories and the outright failures, and to apply the
lessons learned to future activities (paragraph 64).
Scientific advice to Government: learned societies
24. Government departments make regrettably
little use of the expertise of the learned societies, despite
repeated offers of assistance from those organisations. We recommend
that the Government consider using learned societies instead of
commercial consultancies if they could carry out research in the
same areas (paragraph 68).
25. We repeat the recommendation made in our
predecessor Committee's Report on the Scientific Advisory System
that Government look more towards the learned societies when soliciting
expert scientific advice. We think it right that all learned societies
have equal opportunity to provide that advice and that there be
financial compensation for those who produce substantial and extensive
pieces of advice. Learned societies should be able to bid for
funding to provide scientific advice work they feel competent
to do (paragraph 69).
Scientific advice to Government: the Royal Society
26. We believe that the Royal Society's confidence
in its all-round expertise may be misplaced. We urge the Royal
Society to consider carefully when producing policy and advice
whether it really has adequate in-house expertise in all fields
of scientific knowledge, and to consult other learned societies
as a matter of course (paragraph 70).
Accommodation: the Royal Society
27. We acknowledge that the Royal Society's
premises in Carlton House Terrace provide facilities for other
learned societies. Given that these societies may not have prestigious
offices of their own or large budgets, we hope that the Royal
Society will provide these facilities at cost price to learned
societies (paragraph 72).
28. As the UK's 'academy of sciences', the
Royal Society should have a prestigious site in the centre of
London and we believe that government funding is appropriate (paragraph
Accommodation: Burlington House
29. We would like to see all Burlington House
societies acknowledge that subsidised accommodation constitutes
a form of government funding (paragraph 77).
30. We do not intend to comment on the Burlington
House agreement, since it is subject to legal dispute. The Burlington
House societies benefit from a historical agreement and it is
by chance that this is with the Government and not some private
organisation. Certainly withdrawing the arrangement would impact
on the good work that the Burlington House societies are able
to do. This would be a net loss for science (paragraph 78).
Selection of Fellows
31. The Royal Society and Royal Academy of
Engineering should ensure that their selection procedures are
fair and transparent, so as to ensure good representation in their
Fellowships and confidence that they are not an 'old boys' network'
The Fellowship: gender
32. We do not think that the present low level
of female Fellows in the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering
represents any discrimination against women. We urge both bodies
to extend their efforts to encourage women to continue with scientific
research and engineering careers (paragraph 89).
The Fellowship: ethnicity
33. We are concerned at the Royal Society's
apparent confusion between ethnicity and nationality. It would
appear to demonstrate a lack of awareness of the need to ensure
that scientists from ethnic minorities are not excluded from organisations
such as the Royal Society, and suggests a head in the sand attitude
to the current political climate (paragraph 90).
34. We understand from the Commission for
Racial Equality that it is against good practice not to carry
out ethnic monitoring at all levels, and as the Royal Society
and Royal Academy of Engineering are in receipt of public funds,
they are laying themselves open to criticism if they continue
not to monitor the ethnicity of their Fellows (paragraph 90).
35. The Royal Society and the Royal Academy
of Engineering should think strategically about programmes to
increase ethnic minority participation in science (paragraph 91).
The Fellowship: institutions
36. We commend the Royal Society's effort
to encourage Fellowship nominations from under-represented institutions
but urge it to guard against unquestioning complacency that the
"Golden Triangle" really holds all the best academics
in the UK (paragraph 92).
The Fellowship: disciplines
37. We are glad to note that the Royal Society
is making positive efforts to improve representation across its
Fellowship. We believe however that more could be done in areas
which have specific cause for concern. It would be a welcome signal
of change if the Royal Society were to establish a committee specifically
for computing science (paragraph 95).
38. The Royal Academy of Engineering should
represent engineers in all areas. Definitions of what constitutes
engineering are changing and this should be taken into account
when electing Fellows (paragraph 96).
39. We commend the Royal Academy of Engineering
for making efforts to increase the number of Fellows in under-represented
areas, and urge it to ensure that it achieves representative levels
of new disciplines in its Fellowship (paragraph 96).
Funding for the learned societies
40. While it would be unrealistic to suggest
that the Government fund the work of all scientific learned societies,
we have suggested that a mechanism be established through which
learned societies could have access to centralised government
funding. We recommend that OST evaluate the work done by these
societies with a view to identifying and funding some core activities
41. Raising the profile of the scientific
learned societies can only be a positive thing for the enthusiasm
for, and knowledge of, science in the general public. Government
should make every effort to assist (paragraph 99).
42. We recommend that OST give thought to
what it would like the learned societies it funds to achieve and
how best to ensure this. Not enough attention has been paid to
the publicly-funded activities of these bodies. OST should ensure
that they are held properly accountable. Learned societies receive
funds not just from the OST but also from other Departments. The
Government needs to think strategically about the money it is
giving out to learned societies through its various funding streams
in the form of one-off grants and whether this money could be
used more efficiently (paragraph 100).