77. In this short inquiry we have been left in no
doubt as to the international competitiveness of the facilities
operated by the CCLRC, nor the quality of the technical and other
support for them. They have helped the UK at the forefront of
world science in many different areas. In spite of the announcement
of the ten year strategy for science, we are not yet convinced
that the Government places sufficient value on the benefits hosting
international facilities. It is not all about realising benefits
in pounds and pence. The CCLRC and RCUK should drive forward this
message, with the proactive support of the Science Minister.
78. The CCLRC has proved that it is capable of running
these facilities efficiently to the benefit of the UK research
community, although we believe that there is scope for a more
strategic and transparent approach to allocation time between
different user groups. We also conclude that there is a need to
improve industrial awareness of and access to the CCLRC's facilities.
Finally, and most importantly, we conclude that the dual role
of operating facilities and providing strategic advice on large
scale facilities is not conducive to maintaining the confidence
of the whole UK research community in the independence of strategic
advice to Government. We have recommended that this strategic
advisory role should pass to the strategic guardian of the Research
Councils' interests, RCUK.