APPENDIX 3: CALL FOR EVIDENCE |
24 May 2013
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee,
under the Chairmanship of Lord Krebs, is conducting an inquiry
into scientific infrastructure. This refers to large and medium-sized
equipment and the e-infrastructure to support scientific research.
Such infrastructure requires substantial financial investment
and often capital expenditure. It is therefore important that
a long-term strategic plan is in place for initial investment,
use, operational costs and upgrades.
This inquiry will collect evidence on the large and
medium-sized scientific infrastructure currently available in
the UK. It will consider future needs and whether an effective
long-term strategic plan is in place to meet these needs. It will
consider funding and governance arrangements. Finally, it will
consider how effective international partnerships and partnerships
with industry can be achieved.
The scope of this inquiry does not extend to investment
in scientific infrastructure which could be funded from individual
grants or within the budgets of individual universities or institutes.
The deadline for written evidence submissions is Friday, 21
The Committee invites submissions on the following
points, with practical examples where possible (please only answer
the questions of relevance to you):
Current availability and status of scientific
· What scientific infrastructure is currently
available in the UK, do UK researchers have sufficient access
to cutting edge scientific infrastructure and how does this situation
compare to that of other countries?
· Is sufficient provision made for operational
costs and upgrades to enable best use to be made of the UK's existing
scientific infrastructure? Is it used to full capacity; and, if
not, what steps could be taken to address this?
· What substantial increases in scale would
allow new areas or domains of science to be explored (analogous
to Large Hadron Collider and Higgs boson)?
Long-term needs, setting priorities and funding
· What role should the Government play in
ensuring that there is an effective long-term strategy for meeting
future scientific infrastructure needs?
· What are the long-term needs for scientific
infrastructure and how are decisions on priorities for funding
· Is it more important to invest in large,
national infrastructure or medium infrastructure?
· Since the last Comprehensive Spending
Review, a series of additional announcements have been made on
investment in scientific infrastructure. How were the decisions
on investment reached and what have been the impacts of this approach
to funding scientific infrastructure?
· What impact has removing capital spend
from the ring-fenced budget had on investment in scientific infrastructure
and should the ring-fenced science budget be redefined to include
an element of capital spend?
· If the current funding level is maintained
or reduced, what would be the longer term impacts on scientific
infrastructure in the UK?
· Does the UK have effective governance
structures covering investment in scientific infrastructure, how
do they compare to those of other countries, and are there alternatives
which would better enable long-term planning and decision-making?
· Are effective and fair arrangements in
place for access and charging for public and private scientific
· Are effective structures in place for
funding of medium-sized scientific infrastructure and enabling
sharing among Higher Education Institutes and Research Institutes?
· Are regional research alliances proving
effective in enabling access to funding for medium-sized infrastructure?
Should more be done to support or incentivise approaches to collaborative
funding and sharing of medium-sized infrastructure?
· To what extent do funding structures in
the UK help or hinder involvement in EU and international projects,
and should the level of UK involvement be improved?
· To what extent are EU and international
programmes effective in promoting collaborative investment in
scientific infrastructure projects?
· What impact does publicly funded scientific
infrastructure have in terms of supporting innovation and stimulating
the UK's economy?
· How accessible is publicly funded scientific
infrastructure in the UK to industry and small and medium sized
enterprises? Is there room for improvement?
· Are Government policies successful in
encouraging industry to co-invest in scientific infrastructure?