House of Commons Science & Technology Committee Report - NERC's response
16 July 2003
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) welcomes the publication today of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee Report, The Work of the Natural Environment Research Council. Overall, we feel that it is a fair review of our efforts and achievements.
We are particularly pleased that the Committee welcomes NERC's open and independent approach to developing strategic priorities through broad consultation. It is encouraging that they approve of our efforts to inform user groups and to engage with other environmental funders by setting up the Environment Research Funders Forum. We are also pleased that they recognise our attempts to encourage interdisciplinary research, including setting up a peer review college.
We are not surprised that many of their critical remarks are directed at the financial crisis we suffered last year. We acknowledge the difficulties we had and believe that we shared them openly and honestly at the time and dealt with them effectively. It is encouraging that the Committee recognises that we have learned from the issues and now have greatly improved our financial management.
We accept the comments on a shortage of skills, in particular in hydrogeology, and when our next review of MSc training is complete, we shall be taking steps to deal with any imbalances. We are puzzled by the interpretation of some of the information on earth sciences and will be looking at this in more detail. Success rates for grant applications are an issue of great concern to us and we are constantly seeking ways to improve the rates, undoubtedly taking on board many of the comments made.
We accept that we have a lead responsibility for ensuring a strong environmental science community and we already work hard to achieve this.
NERC is proud to be funding and carrying out excellent science in which the public has strong interest and support.
NERC Press Office
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411561
Mob: 07917 557215
Press release: 14/03
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