Many researchers in the UK will be forced to share lab space and basic equipment as the government there cuts funding for research, reports the Guardian's Ian Sample. Senior academics have said hard cuts to hardware and facilities budgets would "transform research in the UK," with some universities and centers hoarding equipment, leaving other researchers forced to scrounge for access to facilities and instruments, Sample says. UK Science Minister David Willetts recently said that the government would no longer fund four projects that have been highlighted as priorities by research councils, including a national supercomputing service to aid in drug development, for example. The Medical Research Council has asked scientists to be generous in sharing their equipment, Sample says. Researchers can now apply to research councils for only half the cost of lab equipment valued between £10,000 and £121,588, and in turn must acquire the rest of the funds they need from other sources, he adds. Many universities say their equipment is already being used to capacity by their own researchers, and that having to accommodate other projects will put pressure on researchers and delay their work, Sample adds.
May 12, 2011