Response from Keith Snook, Royal Institute of British Architects
Consultation on how effectively the department has:

1. Developed a clear overall science strategy
The Office of Science and Technology strategy is clear but it is not clear without detailed enquiry to
stakeholders at the level of professional institutions such as the RIBA what the detailed ODPM response
has been to it. Any strategy is hampered in our sphere of interest by the fragmented departmental reporting
for architecture, construction and built environment issues generally.

2. ‘Horizon Scans’ to identify future science-related Issues
Inter departmental or „pan‟ horizon scans are essential to our interests given the fragmentation mentioned
above. Given that major departmental reorganisation is not an option and even if reorganisation does
take place it has not (historically/recent) addressed this issue we would suggest a system of formal (bi, tri or
more) memorandum of understanding for such scans.

3. Reviews and harnesses existing research and identifies gaps and opportunities for future
Whilst certain subjects remain the interest of one department addressing the fragmentation is again a
feature of this issue. A method of engaging with the research communities that themselves maybe do not
recognise the pan departmental significance of their output and or proposals is required. Similar
collaboration on recognising the scope of needs/gaps is also necessary.

4. Commissions and manages new research
The same issue again but in reciprocation the various „industry‟ bodies and institutions could do more to
help here in illuminating potential management difficulties/complexities in its new research proposals.

5. Ensures the quality and relevance of the work it carries out and sponsors
Quality within topics and projects is almost certainly variable but the most important factor is to have the
metrics by which to identify and classify this variability in order that the stronger is seen as such and the
weaker (which will happen) is identifiable and identified. This becomes more problematical at interfaces
and quality should be covered by the proposed memorandum of understanding. We understand the
value for money is not within the ToR of this review but would point out that the pan departmental
value of some work could be missed without proper co-ordination.

6. Uses the research and scientific advice, e.g. in formulating policy
The place of the government research labs at cutting across the departmental structures and providing
reliable high quality and well resourced research support to policy and legislation has not been adequately
filled by the market driven system. We recognise that this cannot be reinstated and that this is not the
subject of this review. However (and a running theme) whilst procurement and management could be
improved to emulate the previous rigour etc what has not been addressed is the co-ordination (through
experience as much as anything) that occurred at source with research procured through the govt. labs.

7. Publishes research results and debates their implications openly
There is still probably quite a lot of undiscovered work – particularly at the „cracks‟ where departmental
interests join (but for other good reasons do not overlap). Also the loss of a trusted 'brand' seen as “worth
reading” that went with the govt research labs has not been replaced or emulated. (Relatively) „Lay‟
implementers of the results of research will not be interested in anything short of recognisably reliable

8. Shares, transfers and manages knowledge
The majority of responses major on this issue – it is key.
9. Has implemented the guidance contained in Guidelines 2000 and the Code of Practice for
Scientific Advisory Committees
RIBA is not adequately familiar with the guidelines to comment.

10. Uses, maintains and develops scientific expertise (including both capacity and capacity
As noted – particularly in support of policy, legislation and standards making (not de-facto) the role of the
govt research establishments has not been satisfactorily resolved by market driven methods of research