Lords ask European science research chiefs: is the UK lagging behind?

28 June 2013

The heads of leading scientific research institutes in Europe are to give evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee next week as part of its inquiry into the state and funding of the UK’s large and medium-sized scientific infrastructure.

The director of Europe’s flagship centre for neutron science and technology, the head of a multinational network of nuclear fusion research and a leading scientist at CERN are among those to appear on Tuesday 2 July.

At 10.40am, in Committee Room 4, the committee will hear from:

  • Professor Andrew Harrison, Director, Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL);
  • Professor Steven Cowley, Chief Executive Officer, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and Head of EURATOM/CCFE Fusion Association; and
  • Professor Tejinder Virdee, Department of Physics, Imperial College London.

They will be followed at approximately 11.40am by:

  • Dr Fiona Marshall, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Heptares;
  • Sean McGovern, Business Director – Support, BAE Systems.

The committee will ask whether the UK trails in the slipstream of other EU countries with superior models of funding and investment, and whether the UK is sufficiently engaged in international and EU projects.

Questions the witnesses are likely to face include:

  • Do models of governance in other countries enable more effective funding and use of scientific infrastructure?
  • What should be done to facilitate and improve international collaboration in the development and use of infrastructure?
  • Could we benefit from increased UK participation in EU or international infrastructure projects?

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