Balancing act

September 10, 1999

You report ("Science loses out to Brit hype", THES, September 3) that the British Council has cut back its exchanges programmes in favour of exhibitions and publicity campaigns. This is not the case. We are, in fact, striving for a balanced portfolio of one-to-one scientific links and raising awareness of British scientific achievement. Both elements are needed.

The problem facing the British Council's exchanges schemes, designed to promote partnerships in science, is that their impact is limited to a small number of the research community. This can be interpreted as poor value for money.

We need to see more communication between the scientists who receive our awards and society at large, perhaps with award-holders writing popular articles as well as technical ones, or engaging in discussion of the scientific issues behind their research.

Lloyd Anderson

British Council

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