Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, announced today (24th February) several amendments to the government’s Bill on HE and Research.
Professor James Wilsdon FACSS, Chair of the Academy’s Campaign for Social Science welcomed the announcement saying,
“Full marks to Jo Johnson for listening and acting on the community’s concerns. We warmly welcome the amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill that the Minister has proposed today, ahead of the Lords report stage. Our main focus has been on the creation of UKRI and reforms to the research and innovation system in Part 3 of the Bill. So it’s encouraging to see government has taken on board the points that we and others made about the need to consult widely before tinkering further with the structure of the research councils within UKRI. We’re also pleased by the formal recognition of the Haldane Principle, by greater clarity over the way budgets will be set, and by the addition of ‘advancement of knowledge’ as a legitimate objective for the research councils. All in all, this is a serious and substantial package of amendments that should go a long way to assuaging any lingering concerns. The social science community now looks forward to playing an active part in the success of UKRI, and the delivery of its vision for a more strategic, interdisciplinary and high-impact research system.”
Click here for more on the reaction from the UK’s science community from Nature.com