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CaSE Diary

The Case Diary includes the latest information on our activites. The Diary archive, available via the links on the left, includes diary entries as well as all the information from our What's New section.

 

 

 

March 2007

30/03/07 Careers advice for science students
CaSE today called for dramatic improvements of the quality of advice and guidance given to students about the opportunities opened up by studying science or engineering. Publishing the report of an Opinion Forum, sponsored by the The Science Council and the Engineering & Technology Board, CaSE's Director, Dr Peter Cotgreave, said, "We heard some shocking stories of the appalling advice young people were given about the options open to them if they studied science or engineering - one young woman was even told that she could engage her interest in chemistry by going to acting school and ten getting a part in a TV show about forensic science. But also heard that there is a lot of good stuff going on. The information that already exists needs more coordination and quality control, we need to get parents much more closely involved in the process. Big challenges like climate change need actually excite young people, but to make a difference, many of them will need good training as scientists or engineers, and it's not clear that this message is getting through."

read the report

29/03/07 Science in Society
CaSE today welcomed the Conservative Party's consultation on science in society as identifying some key questions for debate. Commenting on the Conservative Party's STEM Task Force report published today, Dr Peter Cotgreave, Director of CaSE said, "the important thing that Ian Taylor MP and his group have recognised is that the plethora of initiatives going on at the moment are not working - the pipeline of scientific talent is not strong enough because too many people do not see science as important, exciting or rewarding. The problem is not unique to the UK, but if we don't solve it, we have no chance to creating the dynamic knowledge economy we need if the country is to remain prosperous in the future. The idea of a single clear voice championing science in the public sector is a good one if all the different bits of Government - the NHS, university research, climate change experts in the Environment Department, the innovation people at the DTI and so on - could get their acts together and buy into it."

 

22/03/07 Research institutes
CaSE today welcomed the recognition in a House of Commons report of the need to support long-term research studies that are losing out under the current arrangements. Commenting on the publication of the Science & Technology Committee's report on Research Council Institutes, CaSE's Director, Dr Peter Cotgreave, said "the MPs have explicitly agreed with CaSE about the need to clarify the funding of studies like long-term environmental monitoring and projects on diseases that are out of fashion with the research community. These no longer get funded properly by individual government departments, whose research budgets have fallen, and the Research Councils can no longer be expected just to pick up the tab without question. Recent closures, mergers and restructuring of Research Council Institutes reflect this, but now the Government needs to address the issue of how the gaps are going to be filled."

 

21/03/07 Budget
CaSE today welcomed the Chancellor’s decision in his Budget to overturn recent policies to reduce investment in Britain’s scientific and technological future.

read the press release

 

21/03/07 Select Committee
CaSE was today pleased to see MPs on the Science & Technology Committee press the Government on research funding and science teaching. Speaking after the Science Minister, Malcolm Wicks, was quizzed by the Select Committee, CaSE's Director said, "It was heartening to see the MPs of all parties give the minister a hard time over the recent decision to make cuts to the science budget, and to force from him a recognition that they were undesirable and should not happen again." On the subject of science in schools, CaSE's Assistant Director, Dr Hilary Leevers, said, "it was a shame the minister was not familiar with the recent assessement of the new science syllabus. We need to base changes to the education system on hard evidence, and it was heartening to hear the minister say he would look at funding for properly evaluating recent changes.." CaSE regularly works with MPs on Parliamentary Questions and was pleased to see these issues on the agenda.

 

13/03/07 Science Minister
CaSE was pleased to interact with the Science Minister today. Attending Voice of the Future 2007 at the House of Commons, CaSE’s Assistant Director Dr Hilary Leevers heard Malcolm Wicks took take questions from young scientists and engineers, including A-level students, from all over the UK. There was much concern about the state of secondary education and uptake of sciences of universities and CaSE was not convinced by Malcolm Wicks’s comment that things are “not as bad as we think”. Speaking after the event, Dr Hilary Leevers said “It was great to see so many passionate young scientists appreciating the importance of the political process and asking a range of thought-provoking questions.” A House of Commons Early Day Motion congratulated the Royal Society of Chemistry for organizing the event and applauded the contribution of some of the UK’s greatest science and engineering organisations specifically including CaSE, acknowledging the expertise and assistance that we and others can give to Parliament.

 

12/03/07 Attitudes to science
CaSE today urged the scientific community to engage with more audiences in explaining the benefits of their work. Speaking to a group of senior military commanders from the army, navy, airforce and the marines, CaSE's Director, Dr Peter Cotgreave, said that in advanced industrialised nations, people took technology for granted, and their education taught them the sceptical questions to ask of scientists and technologists. "Some people see this as an anti-science attitude in the public," said Peter Cotgreave, "but in fact it is an opportunity, for scientists to talk openly and honestly about the benefits of the work they are doing. The fact these top military commanders are interested is evidence that many audiences are hungry to learn more about the opporunities of UK science."

 

08/03/07 Ministerial support for science
CaSE today welcomed the Science Minister's support for young scientists. Science minister Malcolm Wicks said at the launch of National Science & Engineering Week: "Energy and climate change are huge issues which need skilled scientists and engineers to help tackle them. We need to enthuse the next generation to so that we have enough people with the right knowledge and skills to meet these challenges". Commenting at the event, Dr Peter Cotgreave, Director of CaSE said, "After the recent cuts to the science budget, it is good to see the science minister once again speaking about ensuring that science and engineering are healthy in the UK. Hopefully, this means that the coming Spending Review will redress the cuts announced two weeks ago".

 

08/03/07 Hilary Leevers attended the Council of the National Federation of Engineering Centres.

 

08/03/07 Peter Cotgreave and Hilary Leevers attended the Parliamentary Affairs Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

01/03/07 Pharmaceutical innovation
CaSE today urged the Government not to implement changes that would hamper the scientific development of new drugs. Writing in Laboratory News, CaSE argues that a recent report on the prices paid by the NHS for drugs is putting in danger not just the thousands of pharmaceutical jobs in the UK but the industry's ability to invest in the research and development needed to create new life-saving remedies. "This industry is one of the great success stories of the UK," said Dr Peter Cotgreave, Director of CaSE, "it generates wealth for the country and delivers new drugs and treatments that are improving the health of the nation. Tinkering with the prices paid for those drugs might look like a short term cost saving, but the long term effects could end up being deeply harmful."