Minister eyes postgraduate plan for national lab

The government is looking for one or more academic partners for the National Physical Laboratory, potentially turning the government-owned facility into a postgraduate institute.

November 28, 2012

The laboratory, which oversees measurement standards in UK industry and carries out research in partnership with the academy, has been operated by the private firm Serco since 1995.

However, in a written ministerial statement on Tuesday, universities and science minister David Willetts said he had decided not to renew Serco's contract when it runs out in March 2014 because the lab, and its west London site, "provide opportunities which would be difficult to realise under an extension of the current contract".

"The National Physical Laboratory is a crucial UK asset and we can be proud of its continued record as one of the top three national measurement institutes in the world. I want to strengthen both fundamental research and engagement with business by applying measurement science to support innovation and growth," he said.

The key, he added, would be to form a "strategic alliance" with one or more academic partners - possibly from overseas.

He said such a partnership would allow for "the possible formation of a dedicated applied science postgraduate institute" at the centre of "a science and innovation campus with a focus on measurement science for industry".

"Such a structure would provide both the long-term commitment that partners will be looking for and the impartiality and stability that industry and international bodies value," he said.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns