NERC External Issues Bulletin No 10 Date: 27 March 2007
1. News from the public sector and policy world
Issue Description/ relevance Contact
Early Day Motion from Colin Challen Notes that the European Parliament Environment Committee has HC
UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target. 20 Feb recommended an 80% cut for EU greenhouse gas emissions by
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMI 2050; further notes that a bill presented in the US Congress,
D=32637&SESSION=885 namely the Safe Climate Act, calls for emissions cuts of 80% by
FCO conducts online survey into research The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Tokyo is sponsoring a SS
collaborations between academics in the UK and study into research collaboration between academics in the UK
Japan. Feb- March and Japan. The study aims to profile the nature and extent of
http://www.technopolis.co.uk/UKJapan/ research collaborations with Japan and to identify opportunities
to better support UK-Japan collaboration in the future.
Royal Society fears Research councils budget cuts will The Royal Society has written to Alistair Darling, expressing concern SS
make flexibility difficult. 6 Mar 2007 at the recent announcement that the DTI is to make £68m of cuts
Letter to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to the budgets of the Research Councils, in order to cover deficits
regarding cuts to the Research Councils‟ budgets elsewhere in the DTI's budget. It is concerned that these cuts
infringe the principle that Science Budget funds are strictly ring-
fenced within DTI. The cuts to the research councils‟ budgets
may lead councils to deploy their full budget early on and lose
the flexibility to respond to important issues as they arise
Three-quarters of science funding goes to England Malcolm Wicks, the science minister, told the House of HC
7 March Commons that the UK‟s expenditure on science for 2005-06
http://www.parliament.the-stationery- was £2.95 billion, of which 74.1% was spent in England, 9.0%
office.co.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070307/text/70 in Scotland, 2.3% in Wales and 0.8% in Northern. He was
307w0004.htm - column_1996W responding to question asking what proportion of the science
budget was spent in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern
Ireland over the last five years.
NESTA launches social innovation initiative The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has SS
http://www.nesta.org.uk/programmes/challenge.aspx launched a new £20 million initiative designed to promote social
innovation in tackling problems in health and the environment. The
Innovation Challenges will focus on several key themes, with each
theme lasting three years. The first cluster of Challenge projects,
will focus on innovation in health, and will be launched in March
2007. The second cluster of projects will focus on the
environment and climate change and will be launched later
in 2007. NESTA is now seeking partners to help deliver or co-fund
projects, which stimulate innovation.
Nesta invites applications for Crucible programme. NESTA is inviting applications for the current round of its Crucible SS
14 March. programme, which aims to promote creative thinking in science by
http://www.nesta.org.uk/programmes/crucible.aspx bringing together early career scientists, engineers, technologists
Applications from 22 March until 30 April. and researchers from a variety of backgrounds. Thirty awardees will
Crucible2007@nesta.org.uk get the opportunity to network with other young scientists by
http://www.nesta.org.uk/programmes/crucible.aspx participating in three weekend residential themed workshops.
Royal Society calls for applications for MP pairing The Royal Society is now calling for applications for the 2007 round SS
scheme. Closing date 5 April. of its MP-Scientist Pairing Scheme, in which MPs and scientists learn
http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?tip=1&id=5918 about each other‟s objectives by spending time together in the
laboratory, the constituency and at Westminster.
CBI: UK needs to double science graduates. 12 March At the start of National Science week the CBI warns that the SS
http://www.cbi.org.uk/ndbs/press.nsf/0363c1f07c6ca12 proportion of science and engineering graduates in the UK needs to
a8025671c00381cc7/3bc56e0329272eb48025729900305 double by 2014 if it is to retain skilled jobs and compete in the
f2f?OpenDocument global economy.
David Miliband sets out draft Climate Change Bill and The draft Climate Change Bill, and accompanying strategy, set out a HC
strategy. 13 March framework for moving the UK to a low-carbon economy. Key
http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2007/070313a.htm points of the draft bill include: a series of clear targets for reducing
carbon dioxide emissions - including making the UK's targets for a
60 per cent reduction by 2050 and a 26 to 32 per cent reduction by
2020 legally binding; a new system of legally binding five year
“carbon budgets”; a new statutory body, the Committee on Climate
Change, to provide independent expert advice and guidance to
Government on achieving its targets; and new powers to enable the
Government to more easily implement policies to cut emissions.
(See also ‘Consultation’ section below)
New Institute of Zoology head appointed. The Zoological Society of London has appointed Tim Blackburn as head SS
16 March of the Institute of Zoology, its scientific research division. Tim Blackburn
http://www.researchresearch.com/media/pdf/ZSL2724.pdf was previously Professor of Macroecology at the University of
HEFCE announces timeline for RAE successor. 6 March HEFCE has announced more details of the successor to the 2008 SS
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/circlets/2007/cl06_07/ Research Assessment Exercise. In a letter to vice-chancellors dated
6 March, HEFCE says it plans to use two distinct processes for
assessing quality - one for science-based subjects and another for
all other subjects. For the science-based disciplines (science,
engineering, technology and medicine), HEFCE will use quantitative
indicators, including bibliometric indicators of research quality and
impact, external research income and postgraduate student activity.
The full set of indicators for the science-based disciplines will be
produced for the first time during 2009, and will begin to influence
funding allocations from 2010-11.
Director-General ESA highlights UK‟s small Jean-Jacques Dordain D-G ESA has told the Commons S &T SS
contribution. 19 March Committee inquiry into space that the UK government is an
Dordain evidence (audio) - available for one week. “anomaly” among European Space Agency contributors because of
UK Commons S&T committee homepage the limited funding as a proportion of GNP it contributes. He partly
attributed this to a “confidence deficit” on the part of Defra.
Dordain said he would like to see more funding from the UK
towards the joint Commission-ESA Global Monitoring for
Environment and Security project (GMES) project. ESA is working to
establish the first ESA centre in the UK - a joint ESA-UK group had
been established and is expected to report at the end of May.
2. Key NERC meetings with the public sector
Meeting with: Description/relevance Contact
Alistair Darling, DTI, 18 April, London Alan Thorpe meeting with Minister to discuss Science Budget SS
Michael Kelly, Chief Scientific Adviser, Dept of Alan Thorpe‟s introductory meeting with CSA, DCLG SS
Communities and Local Government, 5 June, London
Research Call/EoI Description/relevance
Understanding The Contribution Of Grass Uplands To Defra invites bids for a short desk study to assess the breadth of current
Water Quality. Closing date: 27 March 2007 knowledge on the role of upland grassland including in determining water
SFFSD 0611 quality, in the context of agricultural production in England and Wales.
Drinking Water Quality And Health Research Programme Various projects relating to risks of contamination in drinking water.
Closing date: 20 April 2007
Understanding the Impact of Farming on Aquatic Defra invite bids for a short desk study to explore and benchmark current
Ecosystems. Closing date. 23 April 2007 knowledge and understanding of the effects of farming1 on aquatic ecosystems
SFFSD0612 in England and Wales, and to identify future research needs.
Who Benefits From Flood Management Policies? To undertake two separate but linked work streams, for flooding and for coastal
30 April 2007 erosion risks respectively. Both workstreams are to consider appropriate ways of
FD2606 defining beneficiaries, in sectoral groups, and then develop and test
methodologies to better understand the gains and burdens for these groups and
sectors. These project fall under the „Strategy and Policy Development Theme
Developing The Evidence Base For Flood Resilience 30 Three projects :To assess the effectiveness of a range of resilience measures
April 2007FD2607 and resistance measures in reducing flood risk; To ascertain the principal
barriers to greater uptake of flood resistance and resilience measures; To
provide a preliminary appraisal of policy options for flood resilience and
4. Consultations and Inquiries
Consultation/inquiry Description/relevance Contact
Defra seeks input on Yorkshire GM potato study. 28 Feb Defra is seeking public input on an application from chemical HC
Closing date 20 April. ø company BASF to conduct research trials on genetically modified
http://www.gnn.gov.uk/content/detail.asp?NewsAreaID potatoes in Yorkshire. BASF had previously been granted permission
=2&ReleaseID=267355 for two trials in Cambridgeshire and Derbyshire, but the company
now wants to move the Derbyshire site to Yorkshire.
Non-agricultural diffuse water pollution in England and The papers cover the development of mechanisms under the Water HC
Wales and mechanisms to deliver Water Framework Framework Directive to tackle two different sets of pressures on the
Directive requirements on hydromorphology ø water environment. We are issuing the papers simultaneously under
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/nadwp- cover of an explanatory roof document which provides the context
hydromorphology/index.htm Deadline 28 May for them.
Defra publishes REACH consultation document. ø REACH, (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) HC
Closing date: 4 June. was agreed by the European Parliament and the EU Council on 18
http://www.gnn.gov.uk/content/detail.asp?NewsAreaID December 2006. It will come into force on 1 June this year. The UK
=2&ReleaseID=270678 is required to have an enforcement and penalties regime in place
no later than 1 December 2008. Defra and the devolved
“Farming” includes all forms of agriculture and horticulture.
administrations are encouraging industry, trade unions,
environmental groups, health and safety professionals and others to
comment on the proposals for enforcement.
Government publishes White Paper „ A Sea Change A Defra sets out a radical new approach to the protection and use of HC
Marine Bill White Paper‟. * Closing date 8 June. the marine environment. The proposals include: A new UK-wide
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marinebill- system of marine planning; A streamlined, transparent and
whitepaper07/marinebill-whitepaper.pdf (paper) consistent system for licensing marine developments; A new
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marinebill- mechanism to protect marine biodiversity, including marine
whitepaper07/index.htm (details) protected areas; Improvements to the management of marine
fisheries; The creation of a Marine Management Organisation
(MMO) to join up our approach to the marine environment.
Defra consultation on Draft Climate Change Bill * See Also ‘ News’ section above. HC
ge-bill/index.htm Deadline 12 June.
Defra consultation on proposed changes to powers to The consultation document is intended to achieve the HC
restrict non-essential uses of water ø following objectives:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/water- - protection of water resources at times of shortage
restrictions/index.htm Deadline 15 June. - expansion of the range of discretionary uses of water not
exclusively limited to water drawn through hosepipes;
- achievement of a broad demarcation between the domestic and
Non-agricultural diffuse water pollution in England and This consultation covers the development of mechanisms under the HC
Wales and mechanisms to deliver Water Framework Water Framework Directive to tackle two different sets of pressures
Directive requirements on hydromorphology ø on the water environment.
hydromorphology/index.htm Deadline 28 May
ø Non-consolidated * Helen Clayton will lead on a consolidated response from NERC. *? Possibly consolidated – contact Helen Clayton ?? Other
5. Reports and Publications
Report/ Publication Description/relevance
Defra/NERC Awayday Final report of the Awayday. Separate file attached.
22 November 2006
Government Response to HoC S&T report: In its response the government concedes that it has “much further still to
„Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence Based Policy go” to ensure that science is used and managed effectively in policy
Making‟. 27 February making. The government also says it is committed to continuing to
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cm improve its use of scientific advice, its management of risk, and its use of
select/cmsctech/307/307.pdf evidence to support policy.
RCUK and others: „Impacts Successes from UK Research‟ The Research Councils UK(RCUK), Universities and Companies Association
highlights outcomes of basic research. 15 March (UNICO), and Universities UK, have jointly launched a new publication detailing
http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/cmsweb/downloads/rcuk/publicat some of the products that had their origins in publicly funded basic research in
ions/impacts.pdf (report) the UK. The launch took place at a parliamentary reception to mark National
http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/news/20070314impacts.htm Science and Engineering Week.
(RCUK press release)
ERFF: 'Using Research to Inform Policy: the Role of The study looks at the interface between environmental research and
Interpretation' 2 March government departments and agencies in the UK. It examines the interpretation
http://www.erff.org.uk/reports/reports/reportdocs/interp that is provided when staff in these organisations request and use information
retstudy070302.pdf from research. Current practice is examined and the difficulties that staff
encounter in: finding information on an issue, using information from
commissioned research, and keeping informed of developments in research.
The report recommends ways in which interpretation could be improved and
gives examples of the ways in which departments and agencies are already
House of Commons S&T Committee The Committee concludes that the UK RCI sector makes a highly valued and
„Research Council Institutes‟ Report. 22 March unique contribution to national scientific capacity. It received no evidence to
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cm support the view that basic research should increasingly be done in universities,
select/cmsctech/68/68i.pdf (report) rather than separate research institutes. It also considers that the balance
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cm between core funding and responsive mode funding available to RCIs works well
select/cmsctech/68/6812.htm (Conclusions/Recomm.) at present and that there is no evidence that inappropriate levels of support are
given to RCIs in preference to universities. See report for full list of conclusions.
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology The natural environment provides people with goods and services that are
Postnote 281 „Ecosystem Services‟ March 07 fundamental to human wellbeing. Damage to the environment is seriously
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/postpn281 degrading these services and this will have economic implications. This
.pdf POSTnote outlines what ecosystem services are, and how provisions for
maintaining them in the UK could be incorporated into policy frameworks.
List of contacts
SS S Szalkowska firstname.lastname@example.org
HC Helen Clayton email@example.com