This is a marine biology video from the USA.
Scuttled ship endangers marine science
Weak pound forces UK to postpone building of research ship
Citing increased costs due to the weakness of the pound against the euro, the British government has pulled the plug on a £55-million (US$80-million) order to deliver a replacement vessel for its ageing research ship, the RRS Discovery, by 2011. The move, which could see the ship pushed further down the line, is a major setback to UK marine science, say researchers. Re-ordering the ship will add years of delay just as expeditions are being postponed or cancelled because the 47-year-old Discovery frequently breaks down.
The British government does NOT use the “weak pound” as a reason for stopping the far more money of bailouts for bankers, including their gigantic bonuses and pensions, like at the Royal Bank of Scotland. They are not stopping that. So, the word “forces” in the headline is somewhat uncritical on government propaganda.
Also, no talk about the weak pound by the government when it sends British soldiers to their deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan.
And, talking about marine issues, the government plans to replace the Trident nuclear warships; which also cost far more than marine science. No talk about the “weak pound” there.
Irish scientists were wondering whether their golden age of research has ended after the government announced spending cuts that will hit 3000 publicly funded Irish scientists to the tune of roughly €6000 each. This comes on the heels of budget cuts that cut pay by an additional €2000. More cuts to government-funded science in Ireland are expected in the next 2 years: here.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 00:39 UK
Bank chief ‘wrong’ about science
By Pallab Ghosh
Science Correspondent, BBC News
Roy Anderson: Science is one of the few options to create a new industrial base for Britain
The head of Britain’s largest science university says the Bank of England’s governor was wrong to caution against more spending on science.
Professor Sir Roy Anderson says that investment in science is “one of the few options” the government has to kick-start the economy.
He thinks there should be a big rise in science spending as part of a new high technology industrial strategy.
Professor Anderson is the rector of Imperial College.
Last month, BBC News revealed that ministers were arguing the case for a one billion pound boost to science spending as part of an overall economic stimulus package.
Within days the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, argued against a further stimulus package because of the high levels of public debt.
The government’s chief scientist, Professor John Beddington, has said that Mr King’s remarks and their timing had reduced the chances of the government approving a boost to science spending.
Professor Sir Roy Anderson, however, believes that the case for a science stimulus package is still “in the balance” and so has spoken to BBC News to argue the case for such a measure.
“Mervyn King’s announcement of course was not the best news for science when [we] were just trying to persuade senior ministers that this is a real opportunity to the British economy,” he said.
“I can understand his caution, however I’d still argue with him that in essence how are we going to position the UK economy coming out of the recession? I’d argue that science and technology is one of our few options and it’s a good time to provide that stimulus.”
As well as supporting moves for increased spending on science, Professor Anderson is leading efforts to persuade the government to set up a separate £1bn venture capital fund to support small high technology companies.
“We have a wonderful discovery base, But we don’t have sufficient venture capital money to establish these companies with good quality management to help them to grow and market themselves to become bigger,” he explained.
“Secondly, we don’t have a vision for the manufacturing opportunities for high technology manufacturing to create a new industrial base for the United Kingdom.”
Some observers argue that this kind of investment is best done by the private sector. How would he respond to criticisms that this use of public money to support promising new ideas is akin to the old controversial government policy of “picking winners”?
“My argument would be that the culture and environment and cautiousness of venture capital in the UK is such that it hasn’t generated the translation of our discovery into good quality companies,” he said.
“(That environment is) far too cautious, far too limited in the amount of money it is prepared to invest in new ideas and it is far too limited in scientific literacy.”
Professor Anderson believes that a publicly directed venture capital fund would quickly create new and much needed hi-tech jobs in the midst of the recession: “Small companies employ more people than big companies in total in the UK,” he explained.
“Often the focus is to protect the giants – we feel that one could generate very quickly a lot of small high technology companies which would provide exciting and interesting employment for graduates in a very diverse array of disciplines.”