HM Treasury DTI DfES & DoH: Research Councils' effectiveness

01 June 2006

Alongside the 2006 Budget, HM Treasury, with Department for Trade and Industry, Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health, published Science & innovation investment framework: the next steps. This invited views on whether the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) should be merged with the large facilities operation conducted by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) to create a Large Facilities Research Council.

The Society's response, submitted in June, welcomed the Government's continuing commitment to research and development evidenced in the Next steps document which is rightly accompanied by questions designed to engage the scientific community in a constant search to secure the best results from the growing expenditure. The primary aim of Science Base policy must be to ensure that UK research is as good and fit for purpose as it can be by international standards. In the context of large facilities, this means that we make the right choices about which facilities to build and support. While supporting some form of large facilities coordination body that could provide a clear mechanism for setting priorities for investment and exploitation across the full spectrum of large facilities, our response also calls for the Government to present in greater detail the evidence underpinning its belief that the single management structure would be an overall improvement and, for example, would deliver better engagement with industry.
In July, the Government announced that, following the Next steps consultation, it has decided to set up a new Research Council merging the CCLRC and PPARC. The Government aims to set up the new Council so that it can take on its new functions by 1 April 2007.