The Royal Society comments on the Nurse review of research councils

19 November 2015

Speaking about the Nurse review of research councils Professor Alex Halliday, Vice-President of the Royal Society said,

“If the government implements the recommendations of the Nurse Review it should help fine tune an already highly efficient research system that is the envy of the world.  It would also place research closer to the heart of government, where the role of science in improving lives and driving the economy is increasingly recognised and championed.

“The Research Councils do a good job and through the proposed Research UK we can get greater strategic planning and a more efficient and effective approach to interdisciplinary research.  In conjunction with the establishment of the proposed Ministerial Committee it should also help to create a better interaction between politicians and scientists. If research is more central to government, science investment through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills can be better aligned with investment from other government departments and the regions. We welcome the acknowledgement of the importance of the dual support system and agree that it should be maintained.

“If these investment decisions are based on a good understanding of the UK’s research base - where research is demonstrably excellent and where research capabilities need to be developed - they can make a real contribution to strengthening the UK scientifically and economically.

“The proposal that Research UK take overall responsibility for ethical and conduct issues in science is a very interesting one.  Good science is dependent on honesty and integrity and we will look forward to seeing how Research UK can play a part in ensuring the UK maintains the highest standards.

“We will be watching the implementation of the ideas in the review closely to ensure that any changes maximise excellent research and its benefits.

“The Nurse Review sets out a way forward for an even more efficient and effective research base in the UK.  Given government’s recognition of the importance of research and innovation, it is to be hoped that this vision for a stronger research endeavour in the UK will inspire the government to commit to additional investment in the forthcoming Spending Review.”