Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Supplementary evidence from the Office of Science and Innovation following the evidence session on 17 January 2007


The size of the single fund for health research and whether this represents a reduction from the current combined research budgets of the NHS and MRC (Qq 65-6 refers)

  The Fund will during 2007-08 initially comprise the MRC's existing allocation from the Science Budget of £546 million and the NHS R&D Budget in England of £730 million, a combined total of £1276 million. The size of the single fund in subsequent years will be determined as part of the spending review process.

The frequency with which assessment exercises will be carried out under the new system which replaces the RAE (Q77 refers)

  DfES have informed the Department that the cycle for the new forms of research assessment will be among the details of the new arrangements now being developed by HEFCE.

Is CCLRC currently in deficit and will that have an impact on the overall grant-giving budget following the merger with PPARC to create STFC (Qq 82-4 refers)

  Last autumn, CCLRC, with OSI agreement, commissioned KPMG to review CCLRC budgetary processes. KPMG later reported that CCLRC had run effective processes, and made specific recommendations on budgetary treatments. The latter have now been implemented, which means that the STFC will not inherit a deficit from CCLRC.

How would potential conflicts of interest among people who were finding themselves awarding grants but who also used the facilities be monitored? Is there a potential conflict there (Qq 82-4 refers)

  Assessment of grant applications in the STFC will be done by peer review, as is the case for all grant awarding Councils. The primary criterion for funding will remain scientific excellence, and the optimised utilisation of the STFC's own facilities will not be a criterion for receipt of grant funding. The distribution of grant funding will be monitored by a Committee, which will report to Council.

February 2007

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