Society accused of stalling funding

June 21, 2002

The Royal Society was recalled by MPs this week to explain events leading up to the resignation of Bridget Ogilivie from the Committee on the Public Understanding of Science.

The House of Commons science and technology committee called the society for a second time in its inquiry into government funding of learned societies.

Dame Bridget resigned as chair of Copus in May, accusing the Royal Society of holding back progress on increasing funding to remodel the organisation.

Last week, she told the MPs: "I just don't know why the Royal Society is not bothered. I don't think there's a hidden agenda, they're just not bothered."

Ian Gibson, chair of the commons committee, said: "Although Copus is based in the Royal Society, Dame Bridget said she had never seen the accounts. Our job is to make sure that organisations operating with government money do so properly."

In her resignation statement, Dame Bridget says: "I am highly embarrassed by the total paralysis shown so clearly by the last two meetings of Copus council. As things stand, it is pointless to continue."

Copus was set up in 1986 by the Royal Society, the Royal Institution and the British Association to improve science communication in the UK. It is housed in the Royal Society, which administers its £460,000 annual budget from the Office of Science and Technology.

In 2000, the House of Lords Science and Society report recommended that the OST provided funds to allow Copus to become an umbrella body for science communication organisations.

In a joint statement this week, the founding partners announced that Lord Jenkin of Roding would take over as Copus chair.

It added: "We share Dame Bridget's disappointment that more rapid progress was not made in mapping out a new role for Copus."

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