Falsifiable claims

July 21, 2011

Simon Marginson states that "subsidising just science-based areas fosters a lopsided 'idea of the university'" ("Liberal thinking", 14 July). His article is the latest to suggest that the arts and humanities took the brunt of the higher education cuts in the UK, with science and engineering escaping unscathed. The reality is that Hefce teaching grants have been cut comparably across all disciplines - science simply required more funding to begin with.

It is no coincidence that A.C. Grayling's New College of the Humanities largely eschews science and engineering - although critical for the nation, these subjects would be far too expensive for his institution to offer. Only the state is in a position to effectively subsidise science and engineering courses.

The almost 50 per cent cut in capital investment across all disciplines will disproportionately hit science and engineering owing to the disciplines' constant need for new infrastructure. We therefore need to think about how to protect research more effectively, rather than perpetuating the myth that science and engineering are receiving special treatment.

Imran Khan, Director Campaign for Science and Engineering

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