Examination of Witnesses (Questions 460
WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2007
Q460 Dr Turner: There clearly will
be challenges for this body. Do you think it has the strength
to make further contributions?
Lord Rees of Ludlow: It depends
on its leadership and it depends on the interface with DTI and
OSI, but I hope very much that there will be some benefit which
will compensate for the disruption that such a change is causing.
Q461 Dr Turner: You do not think
there is a risk that funding very large facilities like Behaviour,
Collider, Diamond and so on is going to detract from other programmes?
Lord Rees of Ludlow: Well, there
is indeed, and that is why I was expressing the wish that the
internal structure of PPARC which supports small-scale research
as well will be left unchanged. There is indeed a tension between
the big facilities and the small science, but I think the overwhelming
concern is that the decision on the large facilities should be
made in a balanced way, taking account of scientific priority
and where the UK has an edge. The most important decision which
the Council will ever make is to decide whether it is going to
support facilities that make the history books or those which
are in retrospect perceived as white elephants. That is the most
important decision they have to make and you have got to make
sure that the body making that is as well informed as possible.
Q462 Dr Turner: Yes, of course, but
the current component parts of Swindon Town are already involved
with the BNSC. How effective do you think they are in that body
and do you think they could be more effective in the future?
Lord Rees of Ludlow: I think the
UK has been involved in successful facilities and successful projects,
but there is always scope for improvement. When we consider how
the scientific effort interfaces with the applications, Earth-oriented
research, climate research, et cetera, I think there is tremendous
scope for improved co-ordination.
Chairman: I think, on that note, we will
bring this session to an end. Professor Culhane, Professor Rowan-Robinson
and Lord Rees, thank you very, very much indeed for your presence