Paul Boateng, the Treasury's chief secretary, may have been making smooth assurances to the Science and Technology Committee last week that his department is not trying to seize control of the UK science agenda, but few in the academic community believe him. It remains to be seen whether the Office of Science and Technology will fight this trend or simply work harder to curry favour with the Treasury boys.
But the departure of Chris Henshall, director of the science and engineering science base group in the OST, is a worrying sign. Many regard Dr Henshall as one of the few serious campaigners for science in the Civil Service, but when the Treasury stepped in to conduct its ten-year review of science earlier this year, rumours began circulating that his time at the OST was up. Sure enough, Dr Henshall has confirmed that he is off to become pro vice-chancellor of York University - putting at least 200 miles between him and those dreaded spending review allocations.