Memorandum submitted by Research Councils
UK (CRU 44)
1. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is a strategic
partnership set up to champion the research supported by the seven
UK Research Councils. RCUK was established in 2002 to enable the
Councils to work together more effectively to enhance the overall
impact and effectiveness of their research, training and innovation
activities, contributing to the delivery of the Government's objectives
for science and innovation. Further details are available at www.rcuk.ac.uk.
2. This evidence is submitted by RCUK on
behalf of the Research Councils and represents their independent
views. It does not include or necessarily reflect the views of
the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills.
3. Research Councils fund climate change
research at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Though some grants
are currently held by scientists within the Climatic Research
Unit (CRU) the Research Councils are not major funders of the
CRU. All Research Council funding is approved through a rigorous
peer review system in which applications are examined by a number
of reviewers, including some international reviewers.
4. In addition to these grants, a contract
using funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
was issued in November 2005 by the then Council for the Central
Laboratory of the Research Councils (now incorporated within the
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)) for the British
Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC)
to procure an updated version of the CRU high-resolution climate
dataset, and software to allow BADC to carry out ongoing updates
to the dataset. The desire of all parties in this contract was
to make both the dataset and the methodology used in its construction
more easily available and transparent. Approximately 500 registered
BADC users have accessed the data to date.
5. RCUK is fully supportive of access to
data to validate research, and issued its policy on good research
conduct in July 2009.
This policy makes clear:
misrepresentation of data, for example
suppression of relevant findings, and/or data, or knowingly, recklessly
or by gross negligence, presenting a flawed interpretation of
data is unacceptable; and
relevant primary data and research evidence
should be accessible to others for reasonable periods after the
completion of the research: data should normally be preserved
and accessible for 10 years, but for projects of clinical or major
social, environmental or heritage importance, for 20 years or
6. The evidence for climate change comes
not only from the temperature records but also from, for example,
long term changes in: sea level rise, ecosystem degradation, intensity
of rainfall changes, incidence of droughts etc. The joint Met
Office, NERC and Royal Society "Climate Science Statement"
highlights the weight of evidence for human-induced climate change.
Q1. What are the implications of the disclosures
for the integrity of scientific research?
7. Discussion of this question should await
the outcome of Independent Review of the allegations, to be headed
by Sir Muir Russell.
Q2. Are the terms of reference and scope
of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA
8. In circumstances where there is a question
of research integrity we would expect the employing organisation
to undertake an investigation in the first instance. Research
Councils require an award holding organisation to have a robust
policy/process for undertaking such a review, and where appropiate
for reporting the outcome to the relevant councils.
9. It is not our position to intervene on
individual cases where investigations are still in process, so
it would be inappropriate to make any comment on the terms of
reference of this review.
Q3. How independent are the other two international
10. At this stage, this issue is most appropriately
assessed through the evidence of the research community and independent
leading individual scientists rather than research funding bodies.
As such, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment
at this stage.
57 The British Atmospheric data centre is a NERC funded
data centre run under contract for NERC by the Science and Technologies
Facilities Council. See: http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/home/index.html Back