Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Submission from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)


  We are very happy with the allocation. It provides the funding for longer-term sustainability that has been needed for many years both through starting to meet the full economic costs of research and in supporting the people and infrastructure needed to maintain the UK's research base. There is a consensus across RCUK and the science base as a whole that such investments in quality and sustainability were more important at this particular time than providing for increases in volume alone.

  Clearly the Council could have allocated wisely a larger allocation. There were a number of proposals in our draft delivery plan that will now be delayed or taken forward on a smaller scale. However, we already had in place a rigorous mechanism for determining our highest priorities in the light of our allocation from the spending review and these priorities have been set out in our published delivery plan. I should also add that we will be working very hard to strengthen our collaborative partnerships in a way that will allow us to generate additional income to support some of those activities than cannot be fully funded from the science budget.

  You asked about the future of cross-Council programmes. ESRC will continue to lead and coordinate the Rural Economy and Land Use programme and to play a major role in the work on Energy (where we have already agreed additional commitments from the SR2004 allocation). We have also identified in our Plan the scope for further collaboration with sister councils in a number of key areas such as religion and society and the interface between social science and neuroscience. Therefore, I can assure you that our commitment to supporting cross-Council programmes (including training and capacity building initiatives) and cross-disciplinary work will continue as before and, where possible, will be extended.

July 2005

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