The decisions they face

May 9, 1997

THES reporters examine the higher and further education issues facing the new ministers


EVEN BEFORE John Battle was named science minister, British scientists were lobbying the new Government to "repair" the country's scientific tradition, writes Julia Hinde.

A letter to Tony Blair from Save British Science is likely to be just one of many from concerned academics, industrialists and charities, stressing the need to maintain investment in the science base, while repairing infrastructure and investing in converting British science into new technologies.

Attracting scientists back to Britain will be the key challenge facing Mr Battle. First he must prevent other scientists, as well as companies and charities, leaving.

The new minister will need to look at the system of dual support, with money for science coming from both the research and funding councils. Pressure has been building up for all the money to be moved to the research councils.

The new administration must also decide whether to leave science within the Department of Trade and Industry, where it has an integral relationship with business, or to move it to the Cabinet Office and to create a Cabinet post for science. There are plans to reform the Council for Science and Technology to allow more input from scientists.

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