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Royal Society called to account

Resignation of COPUS head prompts MPs to ask whether Royal Society has obstructed development of the body.

Helen Gavaghan(gavers@supanet.com)

LONDON — At an emergency meeting on Wednesday night, the House of Commons select committee on Science and Technology decided to call the Royal Society next week to explain why it has seemingly obstructed efforts to modernise an official committee charged with improving science communication in the UK (the Committee on the Public Understanding of Science – COPUS).

The select committee's decision was prompted by evidence from Dame Bridget Ogilvie, who on 17 May announced she would resign as head of COPUS at the end of June. In her statement at the time, she wrote, "I am highly embarrassed by the total paralysis shown so clearly by the last two meetings of COPUS Council. I apologise to you all. As things stand I think it is pointless to continue."

Labour MP Dr Ian Gibson, chair of the committee, spoke of the blow that Dame Bridget's resignation is to British science...

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