UK Parliament Committee on Science and Technology - Government Response to Report on the Work of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (link)

November 5, 2004

London, 04 Nov 2004

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Introduction

The creation, from 1 April 2003, of a new strategic advisory role and additional funding responsibilities for the CCLRC - resulting from its 2002 Quinquennial Review— were intended to strengthen UK involvement in the design, build, operation and continuing development of the large research facilities that lie within CCLRC'S remit, whether or not owned and operated by CCLRC. The improved coordination of investment planning, the more effective pursuit of international partnerships, the pursuit of more effective and efficient utilisation of experimental time across facilities, and the more effective planning of operational priorities are all intended attributes of the new arrangements. This includes the construction and operation of the new Diamond Light Source, which is a partnership between the Government and The Wellcome Trust, in which the CCLRC is responsible for the Government's 86% shareholding.

CCLRC is now responsible not only for access to national neutron, synchrotron and laser facilities, but for UK investments in similar facilities that are the subject of international partnerships and located overseas. The Institut Laue Langevin reactor neutron source (ILL) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) are two such major enterprises. The CCLRC facility access role is therefore now, more than ever, an international one. CCLRC expertise and experience in international projects - for example in space science and technology and in particle physics - can now be brought to bear on these additional areas, strengthening the UK's return on investment.

The Office of Science and Technology (OST) and the Council of the Central Laboratory for the Research Councils (CCLRC) welcome the Committee's report. They have found it helpful in considering the way forward for both Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the CCLRC, following recent separate reviews commissioned by the OST[1]. The Government's response to the Committee's individual recommendations is set out below. Where recommendations were plainly addressed to the CCLRC and the Government has no role in the matters raised, the response is the CCLRC's.

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House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

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