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Hamish Johnston: April 2008 Archives

The current “crisis” in physics funding in the UK was big news this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

In an interview that ran just before the 8:00 news, physicist Brian Cox of the University of Manchester said that Keith Mason — head of UK’s main funding body for physics and astronomy (the STFC) — “should seriously consider his position”.

Cox was commenting on a report released today by a committee of British parliamentarians that poured criticism on recent funding decisions made by the STFC and also questioned the competency of its senior management.

Cox told the programme that the STFC has caused a great deal of anxiety in the physics community, with some researchers being told that they would have to pull out of long-standing international collaborations. He also said that morale was very low among people working at the STFC itself.

Interviewed in an earlier piece on Today was committee chairman Phil Willis MP, who said that the STFC’s actions had jeopardized the UK’s high international standing in physics research.

Mason declined the BBC’s request for an interview.

You can listen to a repeat of the Today programme using the BBC’s Listen Again service.

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