IOP comments on the Nurse Review of the research councils

19 November 2015

The Institute of Physics has welcomed the work of Sir Paul Nurse on an independent review of the research councils and expressed the hope that its stress on investing in excellence will be followed through in funding plans for science.

Paul Nurse
Credit: Royal Society

“Ensuring a successful UK research endeavour”, also known as the Nurse Review, was commissioned by the government and led by Sir Paul, who is president of the Royal Society. The report, published today, contains a number of recommendations for the structure and functionality of the research councils.

It includes commentary on the dual support system whereby the science and research budget has been delivered through the research councils and through block grants to institutions from the higher education funding councils.

Commenting on the review, Professor Sarah Thompson, the IOP’s vice president of science and innovation, said: We welcome the work by Sir Paul Nurse on the review of the research councils and hope that the spending review invests at a level to allow UK science to flourish in the future.

“The funding system that we have places peer review and the excellence of the science at the heart of the decision of whether or not to publicly fund a research project. We welcome the commitment to ‘investing in excellence, wherever it is found’ and hope that this sentiment is carried through in any future endeavours that may follow based on these recommendations.

“We respect the work that’s been done to identify potential savings. It’s vital to remember, however, that those working in the seven research councils have built productive relationships with the communities that they work for.

“We welcome the emphasis in the report on the importance of the dual support system; a system that strengthens and supports the world class research base across our academic institutions. In any new funding structures it is essential that the two streams are protected to promote the stability and the strength of UK research.

“The UK continues to be a world leader in science and it is important to recognise that it has achieved such successes due to many of the systems already in place.”