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Oh, on the subject of CaSE reverting to 'Save British Science': this is something I jokingly suggested months ago. The organisation arguably lost a little credibility by not changing its name sooner during the Blair/Brown basic research boom years. Changing the name back as a response to this, or to the CSR settlement, would have a powerful symbolic impact, I guess. Problem is, a symbolic impact after the CSR settlement is announced will be worthless in campaigning terms.
I think Alok Jha is right to focus on the 45% claim. It is very probably just a slip by a busy and sleep-deprived minister not fully in command of his brief. But it is also a powerful way of preparing the ground by undermining arguments for maintaining funding at the current levels. Having said that I would (again) make a plea for the follow-up debate not to be just focused on threats to 'basic' research funding. What we are talking about is the impact of cuts or changes on the UK's system for doing, and for taking advantage of, research. It's the health of the system that is important. For instance even small cuts of the kind William Bown talks about in relation to withdrawing QR from lower-rated units could have massive long-term negative impacts by reducing diversity in the system.
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May 18, 2010