Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Annex 2

Memorandum from the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC)

A.  The impact of HEFCE's research funding formulae, as applied to Research Assessment Exercise ratings, on the financial viability of university science departments

  1.  CCLRC facility access and research grant applications are peer reviewed independently of RAE grades.

B.  The desirability of increasing the concentration of research in a small number of university departments, and the consequences of such a trend

  2.  The CCLRC would encourage initiatives which increase the critical mass and sustain strength and depth of knowledge in the core university science departments.

C.  The implications for university science teaching of changes in the weightings given to science subjects in the teaching funding formula

  3.  No Comment.

D.  The optimal balance between teaching and research provision in universities, giving particular consideration to the desirability and financial viability of teaching-only science departments

  4.  No comment.

E.  The importance of maintaining a regional capacity in university science teaching and research:

  5.  The CCLRC focuses on scientific infrastructure issues at a national level, with its users coming from across the UK. When sitting a facility, it is the regional research and support infrastructure (scientific infrastructure, technical support, technical support, equipment, land etc) that is important alongside the regional (AND national) university science base.

F.  The extent to which the Government should intervene to ensure continuing provision of subjects of strategic national or regional importance; and the mechanisms it should use for this purpose

  6.  The Government should be taking a "systems" approach and look at the continuum from GCSE through to post-graduate qualifications in key strategic areas. The "core" subjects (maths, chemistry, physics, materials and engineering) are essential requirements for staffing CCLRC facilities and scientific departments as well as for the users of the facilities.

  7.  The CCLRC has been involved in promoting subjects which are of strategic national importance. CCLRC has created a new MSc in "Accelerator Science" in collaboration with PPARC and the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester in the new Cockcroft Centre at Daresbury.

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