Follow the money part 3: EU science funding

Posted: February 14, 2016 by tallbloke in Accountability, government, solar system dynamics
Tags: , ,


UK Parliament, Westminster [image credit: Wikipedia]

The Govt. is running a Relationship between EU membership and UK science inquiry. A group called Scientists for Britain has submitted written evidence, introduced as follows:

The title of the inquiry is ‘Relationship between EU membership and UK science inquiry’, so we are deeply concerned that all of the questions and preamble of the inquiry are on matters that are not contingent upon the UK’s membership of the EU.

Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Iceland and Israel are all non-EU nations that participate in and contribute towards the science networks operated via the EU.

Norway, Switzerland and Turkey have all been represented on the governing bodies of the ERA, either in the Scientific Council which currently governs the work of the ERA or its forerunner the European Research Area Board (ERAB). European scientists within the ERA rightly see the benefit of ensuring that scientific cooperation is done openly and is not exclusive to political membership. It is within this environment that the UK’s participation in EU science networks would continue if the UK were to leave the EU.

Therefore, it is essential for us to say with regret that the House of Lords inquiry appears to be premised on a fallacy in this respect. The nature of the inquiry’s title points to EU membership while the preamble and questions (about the funding, collaboration, regulation and advice) point to a discovery of the merits of science cooperation which is not contingent on membership.

It is clear that the inquiry is written and designed in such a way that an assessment of the UK’s science relationship with the EU is intended to inform the currently live debate about whether the UK remains a member of the EU. It would be a serious mistake for anyone to connect the two.

Full document

In a tweet yesterday, Scientists for Britain pointed out:

Recent oral testimony includes some from Dame Julia Slingo of the Marshes who says:

I am the Chief Scientist at the Met Office and also a member of the High Level Group for the new European Commission Scientific Advice Mechanism. The Met Office, as I am sure you know, is one of the world’s leading weather and climate services, but also embodies a very significant research activity in weather and climate science, numbering some 550 scientists under my direction. We benefit enormously from our international collaborations, both in services and science, and particularly important European networks which sustain our services and contribute quite significantly to our research base. We have a long history of international co-operation and I would say that EU funding, particularly over the last decade, has been incredibly beneficial to the advancement of our science so we can provide improved services not just in the UK but across the world.



  1. The Met Office Ltd. are an organisation that miraculously combines all that is bad about the public sector and all that is bad about the private – without retaining anything good from either.

  2. Fanakapan says:

    I’d imagine that any group who receive funding via the EU would like to retain that relationship rather than be at the mercy of domestic Chancellors seeking to enforce dogma, or rescue fiscal mismanagement.

    If you take the recipients of farming subsidy, then I have little doubt they would prefer to continue in a system where their French colleagues act as Shock Troops, rather than rely on a Tory party whose traditional links to the land become less with each passing parliament. It may be safe to assume that other groups would see similar advantages to their own situations.

    Of course, none of that is to say that Bogus Science ought to be tolerated. But in a world where there have never been so many scientists, all looking for funding, its inevitable that flights of fancy which manage to get traction will attract money.

    Science has ‘Form’ when it comes to saying what people of the moment want to hear, usually as a result of ‘National’ deviations. So there may be an argument that supranational science may be less liable, but not immune, to funding driven fallacy 🙂

  3. tom0mason says:

    Sounds to me like the Met Office should be sold-off and the monies put to good use by lowering the ordinary blokes tax burden or better funding schools and hospitals.