Declining salary levels and a withering laboratory infrastructure have long threatened the United Kingdom's status as a major world research center. The Ministry of Education had a golden opportunity to reverse this continuing decline as part of a major higher education funding shakeup over the past few months. But senior scientists and lobbying groups charge that the government has failed to back up fine words with the necessary funding commitment.
"I think it's pretty poor all round," says Peter Cotgreave, director of Save British Science, a lobbying organization. "It looks like a botched job."
The principal criticisms are that the government has failed to match new funding for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers with an equivalent amount for middle-ranking lecturers or to provide fast-track promotion for junior researchers and laboratory technicians. Scientists also worry that the government has failed to make specific provision for attracting and retaining top...