3. The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills
Committee is charged with scrutinising the expenditure, administration
and policy of the Department for Innovation, Universities and
Skills. Approximately half of DIUS's expenditure is through the
Science Budget. We therefore decided to conduct an inquiry into
the Science Budget Allocations.
4. Our initial intention was for a short inquiry
into the allocations as a whole. However, upon announcement of
the inquiry, we received a substantial volume of correspondence
from within the particle physics and astronomy community, which
raised concern about the funding and delivery plan of the Science
and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Therefore, we decided
to explore the allocation to STFC more closely than we had originally
5. The inquiry consisted of three oral evidence sessions.
In the course of these sessions we heard from representatives
of the physics and astronomy community, Professor Ian Diamond,
Chair of Research Councils UK, Dr Ian Pearson MP, Minister for
Science and Innovation, and Professor Sir Keith O'Nions, Director
General of Science and Innovation. We also took evidence twice
from the Chief Executive of STFC, Professor Keith Mason, and once
from the Chairman, Peter Warry.
6. In view of the concerns over the STFC Delivery
Plan, we also decided to visit the sites most affected: the Rutherford
Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre,
Edinburgh, and the Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington. We are grateful
to STFC for organising these visits at short notice and for their
prompt cooperation with our requests for further written evidence
and additional material following the evidence sessions.
7. In this report, we look first at the overall Science
Budget. We then look at the allocations to three Research Councils:
the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Arts and Humanities
Research Council and the Medical Research Council.