Bargain-basement research

A hard-hitting new report says Britain has some of the best scientists in the world but not the research funding to match.

Pat Hagan(phagan@btinternet.com)
Apr 25, 2002

LONDON — No-one could accuse Dr Ian Gibson of mincing his words. The Member of Parliament chaired a House of Commons committee that has just completed a through investigation into the funding of British science research. He is unequivocal in his criticism of the system and the harm he believes under-funding is doing to Britain's standing. "The nation's scientists have proved to be among the best in the world but world-class research cannot be maintained on bargain-basement funding," he said. Gibson, Labour MP for Norwich North, believes the Labour government needs to end decades of under-investment in research when it undertakes a major review of future spending later this year.

The report, by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, focuses on the system used to decide which universities qualify for the most funding, known as the Research Assessment Exercise. The RAE was introduced in 1986 as...

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