Submission from the Royal Statistical
The submission covers the following points:
There needs to be a wide definition
of Science and that it should take into account Business and Enterprise. Policy
should be formulated by Scientists taking into account the broad
view of other Scientists.
Due to current funding arrangements and
University policies Statistical Science has suffered and situation
has become critical in terms of production of adequate supply
of qualified statistician.
Devolution promotes local concerns
and so there must be concern over coherent policies emerging,
perhaps there needs to be an appropriate unifying framework.
Public consultation often results
in the vocal minority expressing their views.
1. There is support for Department of Science
within the Business and Industry Section Committee of Royal Statistical
Society for the creation of Department of Science, but there needs
to be an adequate description of Science which allows for adoption
of other scientific subjects beyond solely Physical and Engineering
Sciences. Especially when appreciating the importance of scientific
endeavour associated with the Service Industry. There is also
a danger of separating Science off from application and implementation
of findings if there is no close association with Enterprise and
Business. There needs to be strengthening of this particular
bond, whilst recognising need for fundamental research.
2. Formulation of policy is fraught with
dangers when "non-scientists" play a major role in development
of the policy. There is need for better informed policy making
within the context of science and engineering. It should not
be solely through limited channels of access and selected key
individuals, but from the wider engineering and scientific community.
There is a danger of missing opportunities and breakthrough if
the gates to policy formulation are too narrowly confined within
the scientific community.
3. The diversity of the community has to
be recognised and there needs to be adequate consultation. The
great danger within the community is the cost of "big"
science which distorts budgets and means little or no funding
for programmes which ultimately may have longer term effect.
Statistical Sciences have suffered, both from
lack of research funding and also from University policies which
have been short term. The shortage of trained and qualified statisticians
to support science and engineering, as well as government and
business, has become far too critical. There is a need to seriously
address this issue before the long-term impact damages science
and engineering research and other infrastructure. Failure to
tackle this issue is a sign of the lack of success in consultation.
4. Devolution does mean there are competing
agendas set by different political parties taking power. These
must naturally reflect the local concerns of the regions and will
impact on availability of resources.
Again the issue is then the contribution to
and from the regions of big science. Perhaps there needs to be
layers of policy-making that are unified within a framework rather
than simply devolving policy to regions.
5. Public involvement through consultation
is seen by a large number of researchers to be dubious, centred
on specific lobby groups and special interests. Whilst governmental
science and engineering policy has to gain acceptance generally,
it is a fraught area for discussion when faced with some of the
lobby groups involved. Views on consultation are changing overtime
from naïve views of re-education to involvement, but this
does not guarantee sound public involvement. Too often "public
engagement" equates to collaboration with those within the
public domain who are vocal.
6. The review of government science and
engineering should be through the community of science and engineering
as well as other interest groups such as government itself and