As researchers in the US worried about cuts in science funding look to Congress, across the pond in the UK, scientists are writing to the prime minister to warn of the possible dangers of cutting the science budget there. More than 100 senior chemists, including six Nobel laureates, sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, expressing their dismay at the proposed cuts, which, they say, would "undermine" their work and seriously imperil the UK economy. In particular, the researchers argue, proposed cuts to research in synthetic organic chemistry would slow down the development of new medicines, agrochemicals for food production, and many other materials and electronics needed for modern life. The chemists also write that such action would force young researchers to find jobs overseas. A spokesman for the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council tells the Guardian's Alok Jha and Ian Sample that it has to take a "strategic approach" to funding, especially if the UK is to maintain its global research standing, adding that funding for synthetic organic chemistry was being "rebalanced after a spike" in 2008 and 2009. "Paul Clarke, a chemist at the University of York who sent a letter to science minister David Willetts last week in order to raise similar concerns from more than 100 UK chemists over the EPSRC's plans, said that there was a risk that the agency's ideas would undermine the scientific research base of the UK," Jha and Sample say.
UK Budget Woes
Aug 16, 2011