Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum by the Natural Environment Research Council

  The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the government's response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report "What on Earth? The Threat to Science Underpinning Conservation."

  The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is one of the UK's seven Research Councils. It funds and carries out impartial scientific research in the sciences of the environment. NERC trains the next generation of independent environmental scientists. Its priority research areas are: Earth's life-support systems, climate change, and sustainable economies.

  NERC's research centres are: the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL). A list of NERC's collaborative centres is appended.


Recommendation 1.1

  NERC welcomes the increase in funds for the major collections, but regrets that the government was unable to meet the recommendation in full.

Recommendation 1.7

  NERC supports the involvement of GBIF in a trial of Professor Godfray's novel idea for using the web technology in taxonomic activities.

Recommendation 1.8

  NERC is pleased that DEFRA is prepared to lead (initially) a group to define a strategy for taxonomic research in this country. Depending on the precise terms of reference, NERC would be prepared to join a working group with this aim if asked. However, we would expect it to have a limited life of perhaps two or three years.

April 2003

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