More questions in the House of Lords

In various letters to scientists, David Willetts and Adrian Smith have been deploying the Haldane principle as a reason that the BIS cannot exercise proper governance or intervene to rectify the problems with the EPSRC’s implementation of its Shaping Capability agenda. What should be a shield for independent science has become a weapon used against it.

Lord Lucas is having none of this, and has put the following questions to the Government. They were asked on 26 October, and answers are required by 9 November.

Lord Lucas to ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 20 October (WA 96), what mechanisms exist to enable scientists to call research councils to account, and what is the role of elected politicians in that process. HL12814

Lord Lucas to ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 20 October (WA 96), whether the Haldane Principle operates through checks and balances, with the goal of identifying and nurturing the best research for the benefit of the nation. HL12815

Lord Lucas to ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statement in The allocation of science and research funding, 2011/12 to 2014/15, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in December 2010, that “It is important that Ministers, where they are involved in making strategic decisions on the funding of research, take account of advice from a wide variety of expert sources including academia and industry, both nationally and internationally”, what is the role that ministers have to play in that process. HL12816

Lord Lucas to ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the representations from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Council for Mathematical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Institute for Engineering and Technology asking the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to “pause” its Shaping Capability policy, whether there is a mechanism to allow this request to be discussed outwith the administrative machinery of the EPSRC; and if not, why not. HL12817

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