Reuben Kirkham writes for Nottingham University’s Impact on why cuts to higher education will affect the sciences:
Nearly every student is aware of the debate and protest that unfolded when David Willetts introduced £9000 tuition fees. Yet, a great portion of the income provided for our university and many others comes not from students, but from the Research Councils.
One of these, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), currently the provider of around £130 million of research funding to our university, has recently engaged in reforms more sweeping, fundamental and arguably more damaging than those which Willetts is known for. However, until very recently, there was little visible protest. This changed when Science for the Future supported by a wide range of distinguished scientists, including several Nobel Prize Winners, delivered a coffin to the gates of Westminster, proclaiming the “death of British science”.
The complaints from a substantial portion of the scientific community predate this protest; a series of letters from mathematicians across the UK highlighted their concerns with the decision to constrain postdoctoral fellowships to just one out of twelve areas within Mathematics. Those graduating with a PhD in the wrong area (namely the other eleven) have suddenly found that they have a difficult decision facing them: leave the UK, or face substantially diminished career prospects. At the same time, the EPRSC has cut the number of PhD studentships designated for UK students by over 40% in the space of a single year.
Full story here.