Science Policy

The subtopics in this section contain RAS submissions to governments and funding bodies, evidence for inquiries, consultation documents, and statements of joint positions with related organisations.
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The Royal Astronomical Society letter to the Office of Communications (OFCOM) on the 2006 European Union review of the radio spectrum.
The Royal Astronomical Society response to the 2005 Office of Communications (OFCOM) review of Ultra Wideband.
The RAS response to the 2017 UK Space Agency Call for Ideas and Evidence.
The RAS response to the 2016 House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into Satellites and Space.
The RAS response to the 2013 House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into the European and UK Space Agencies.
The RAS response to the 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into the UK Space Agency.
The RAS response to the 2009 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) consultation on the funding and management of UK civil space activities.
The RAS response to the 2009 British National Space Centre (BNSC) Space Exploration Review.
The RAS contribution to the British National Space Centre (BNSC) Working Group on Space Exploration (2007).
The RAS response to the 2006 House of Commons Science & Technology Committee review of UK Space Policy.
The 2005 statement by the RAS on the Future of Planetary Sciences in the UK.
The 2005 RAS commissioned review of the scientific case for Human Space Exploration.
The 2004 RAS statement on UK participation in the European 'Aurora' Space Programme.
The RAS response to the 2014 Research Councils UK (RCUK) Open Access policy: Independent review of implementation
The RAS response to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Consultation on Open Access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (2013)
The RAS response to the 2013 House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee inquiry into Open Access publishing.
A communique from 24 UK scientific societies, including the RAS, urging action on climate change ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference.
The RAS response to the 2014 House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the Resilience of  Electrical  Infrastructure.
The RAS response to the 2014 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Science and Innovation Strategy.
The RAS response to the 2014 Labour Party green paper on science.
The RAS response to the 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into scientific evidence and advice in emergencies (Space Weather)
British Geophysical Association response to the 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into scientific evidence and advice in emergencies (Icelandic volcano).
The Science Council submission, and supplementary evidence from the RAS, to the 2009 inquiry by the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee: 'Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy'.
"International Perceptions of UK Research in Physics and Astronomy" (2005). A report jointly sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), Royal Astronomical…
The Royal Astronomical Society submission to the 2010 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) International Review of Mathematical Sciences.
The RAS response to the Research Councils UK (RCUK) consultation on the Efficiency & Effectiveness of Peer Review.
"Horizon 2020 UK Options", by Imperial College RAS intern Richard Haythornthwaite. This 2017 policy analysis paper investigates models for UK participation in Horizon 2020 and future EU Framework Programmes after Brexit.
The case for funding blue skies research in astronomy (2006), by Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson. (RAS President 2006-2008)
"International Perceptions of UK Research in Physics and Astronomy" (2000). A report jointly sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), Royal Astronomical…
The RAS response to the 2006 consultation by Research Councils UK (RCUK) proposals to create a Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to replace the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and the Council for the Central…
The RAS response to the 2006 Funding Councils' consultation on proposals to replace the Research Assessment Exercise.
The RAS response to the 2008 consultation on the Research Excellence Framework.
The RAS response to the 2009 (second) consultation on the Research Excellence Framework.
The RAS response to the 2010 STFC consultation on funding options.
The RAS response to the 2008 Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Organisational Review.
A joint response from the British Geophysical Association (BGA), Institute of Physics (IOP), Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), Geological Society, and the Environmental and Industrial Geophysics Group, to the 2008 Innovation, Universities, Skills…
The RAS and British Geophysical Association responses to the 2009 Royal Society consultation on the 'Fruits of Curiosity'.
The RAS response to the 2010 British Geological Survey consultation on 'Earth Sciences in the 21st century'
The responses from the RAS and the British Geophysical Association to the 2010 Science and Technology Commitee inquiry into 'The impact of spending cuts on science and scientific research'.
The RAS response to the 2009 House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Research Funding Priorities.
The RAS response to the 2012 NERC consultation on the British Antarctic Survey / National Oceanography Centre merger.
A letter from the Royal Astronomical Society to the American Astronomical Society in support of the James Webb Space Telescope.
A joint response from the British Geophysical Association, Geological Society and the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain to the Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the 2010 Spending Review.
The RAS response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry into the 2010 Spending Review.
The RAS response to the 2011 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Astronomy and Particle Physics.
The RAS response to the call for evidence for the 2013 Review of UK and EU balance of competences.
The RAS response to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee: inquiry into the implications  of Scottish independence for business; higher education and research; and postal services.
The RAS response to the 2013 House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Scientific Infrastructure.
The RAS response to the 2013 Triennial Review of Research Councils.
Joint RAS / Geological Society response to the consultation on the proposed Shortage Occupation List of the Migration Advisory Committee (2012).
The RAS response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the Science Budget and the Industrial Strategy (2017).
The RAS response to the Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the 2015 science budget.
The RAS response to the review of UK research councils by Sir Paul Nurse.
The RAS response to the call for evidence on the ownership and governance of NERC centres.
The RAS response to the House of Lords inquiry into the Relationship between EU Membership and the Effectiveness of Science, Research and Innovation in the UK.
The RAS response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the Science Budget and the Industrial Strategy (2017).
The Royal Astronomical Society responded to the 2016 inquiry of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee into Science Communication. Science and Technology Select Committee: Inquiry into Science Communication: RAS response
Department for Education consultation on changes to assessment of GCSE Astronomy: RAS response
DfE consultation on the future of GCSE and A level courses (including Astronomy): RAS response (2015)
BIS Consultation on Postgraduate Funding: RAS response (2015)
BIS Consultation on Science and Society strategy: RAS response (2012)
Higher Education Commission: Inquiry into postgraduate education (2012)
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) consultation on student numbers and teaching funding (2012): RAS response
Evidence for House of Lords Science and Technology Subcommittee I: Inquiry into HE in STEM subjects (2011): RAS response
The Royal Astronomical Society policy statement on the teaching of creationism / intelligent design.
Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills consultation on 'A vision for Science and Society' (2008): RAS response
House of Commons Education and Skills Committee review of Higher Education (2006): RAS response
British Geophysical Association Report on Geophysics Education in the UK (2006)
Report on the PhD and Careers in Astronomy in the UK (2005)
House of Lords Science & Technology Committee review of Science Teaching (2006): RAS response
House of Commons Science & Technology Committee review of strategic science provision (2005): RAS response
Treasury-DTI-DfES consultation on Science and Innovation (2004): RAS response
In 2016, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee commissioned an inquiry into the effects that leaving the EU would have on UK science and technology.  The RAS consulted with the astronomy and geophysics research communities, and…
The President of the RAS has written to the Leader of the House of Commons and to the Chief Whip urging the retention of the S&T Committee. RAS officers also spoke to Committee chairman Phil Willis MP, who has now replied.   Professor Rowan-…
The UK astronomy community is deeply concerned about the impact of the £120 million of cuts announced by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Information on how to help our campaign on this follows... UK astronomy faces a difficult…
The Council of the Royal Astronomical Society has issued a statement on the Government and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) response to the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (IUSS) Select Committee report on funding…
  A report commissioned by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) concludes that while a compelling rationale for the UK to immediately join the current European Space Agency (ESA) human spaceflight programme does not exist at present, there…
The RAS has submitted written evidence to the Review of the Health of Physics in the UK. In summary, the submission concluded that astronomy is good for UK plc through attracting UK students into STEM and by sustaining Higher Education Institution…
Science policy   The President of the RAS wants the government's proposals to speed up the planning system to take into account the need to control light pollution. On 21 May 2007, the Government published the Planning White Paper, Planning for a…
The recently published 'Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-14 Annual Report 2007' makes encouraging claims about the future supply of scientists. 'There has been an encouraging rise in the proportion of young people reaching expected…
The Council of the Royal Astronomical Society has broadly welcomed the report from the House of Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee, following their inquiry into the Science Budget Allocations for 2007-10. Members…
Science Minister Malcolm Wicks has replied to the RAS letter over cuts to PPARC's budget at the end of March 2007. "Thank you for your letter of 16 March to Alistair Darling, about Research Council funding. I am replying as this matter falls within…
The poll of RAS Fellows on possible UK involvement in Human Space Exploration closed on 14 February 2007. Over 450 members of the RAS, voted on the statement (below) and overwhelmingly(by 442 to 18) endorsed it. This now will form the basis of the…
The Royal Astronomical Society broadly welcomes the findings of the report on the Research Councils UK (RCUK) review of the health of physics, chaired by Professor Bill Wakeham, vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton. Members of the review…
The RAS President offers to mediate between the Gemini Board and STFC. On 13 December 2007 the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) submitted a proposal to remove the UK's access to Gemini South by 2009, but to retain access to Gemini…
The panel, on whose composition the RAS was consulted, to review the health of physics met on February 29. Following the meeting the following statement was released: The review will consult a range of evidence in making its assessment of UK physics…
The RAS, jointly with the Institute of Physics, urges the government to allow STFC to put the implementation of its Delivery Plan on ice until after the health of disciplines review of physics (the Wakeham review) has reported later in 2008 to…
The Government has replied to the Downing St petition, which attracted over 17,000 signatures, protesting the cuts to the physics budget. The petition read... ''Due to cost overruns the UK's funding agency for particle physics and astronomy, STFC,…
The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee has published its investigation into UK space policy... This week the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology published their report into UK Space Policy. After…
The House of Commons Education and Skills Committee gives a cautious welcome, but sounds concern about, the Bologna Process. In its Report issued on 30th April 2007 the Committee noted the benefits to UK institutions of participating in the creation…
In 2007 RAS President Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson and Policy Officer Dr Robert Massey analysed the dependence of UK physics research groups on astronomy-related research grants (mainly from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council).…
"As early career scientists we are the scientific leaders of tomorrow; we will be the corner stone of the future knowledge-based economy. We want that economy to have strong foundations, not the weak and unstable framework that will be implemented…
The European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) has recommended that the European Commission should promote open access publication policies for all their publicly funded research. EURAB was invited by the Commission to examine the issue of scientific…
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 'acknowledges the concerns and strong feelings evoked by the outcome of the CSR07 settlement...( and) recognises that it must improve its communications ...( and) ... engage more actively with…
House of Commons Science & Technology Committee: inquiry into Light Pollution & Astronomy (2003): RAS written evidence Transcript of RAS oral evidence: oral evidence Department for Communities and Local Government: National Planning Policy…
The RAS welcomes the government’s continued commitment to fund blue-skies research in UK universities. The Pre-Budget Report, published on 6 December 2006, notes, "In order to maintain the UK’s world-class universities the Government intends that…
The presentation by Professor Keith Mason, then CEO of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), at the 2008 RAS National Astronomy Meeting.
The RAS Council has issued the following statement: "The RAS welcomes the Report on the Science Budget Allocation published by the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee which encapsulates well the criticisms we have been…
The RAS President comments on [the Science and Technology Facilities Council] STFC's statement. Commenting on the press release following the STFC Council meeting on 28-29 January 2008 , the RAS's President, Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson, said…
The RAS has emphasised its continued commitment to the peer review process as an essential element in the allocation of grants by the UK Research Councils. In response to the consultation being carried out following a Research Councils UK (RCUK)…
Good news for universities using ESA (European Space Agency) facilities. Last December, the Presidents of the RAS and the IoP jointly wrote to the Chief Executive of PPARC (now STFC), drawing attention to an anomaly in the way in which it was…
In advance of the announcement of the STFC Prioritization Exercise on 16 December the President of the RAS has written to Science Minister Lord Drayson to convey the deep concerns of the astronomy community. This was sent before the pre-budget…
At the request of Keith Mason, CEO of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), an ad hoc group of senior astronomers met with him,and Richard Wade, for informal talks on January 9th 2008 in the Council Room of the RAS. A summary of…
The presidents of the RAS and IoP exchange of correspondence with PPARC about the (anomalous) way in which ESA facilities are credited to the people who built them, rather than to the people who exploit them. Click below to read the letter of 18…
Science policy RAS Policy The Royal Astronomical Society exists to advance our understanding of the Earth, the solar system, stars, galaxies and the wider universe. It does this by promoting astronomy and geophysics and the related disciplines that…
The President of the RAS, Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson, has welcomed the news that the stand-off between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Gemini [telescope] Board has been replaced by constructive discussion.…
The RAS Council welcomes the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) consultation on its Programmatic Review, but has serious concerns about how it is going. At its meeting on 13 March 2008, having considered how the consultation was…
RAS highlights concerns about over-reliance on student choice to determine higher education provision and about the international competitiveness of UK PhD degrees. The House of Commons Education and Skills Committee is investigating the future…
The RAS President urges the Science and Technology Research Council (STFC) not to dilute peer review for grant applications. The following is a copy of the letter sent to Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive ( Designate) of the STFC on 13 March…
The RAS submission to the 2008 Research Councils UK / Universities UK consultation on full Economic Costing (fEC).
The President of the RAS has written to the Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry to highlight the plight of students affected by the recently announced cuts in [the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council] PPARC's…
The PM's office replies to the more than 3000 people who petitioned that all exterior lights are shaded to direct their light downwards, so as to prevent light pollution obscuring the beauty of the night sky. 10 Downing St has responded to the e-…
The Council of the RAS has sent the following statement to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) about its handling of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR2007). Mindful of very strong feelings in the entire astronomical…
The RAS expresses concern about the level of government support for the space sector - which is half the size of the UK motor industry and growing fast. In responding to the public consultation on the UK's Space Strategy, the RAS noted that UK…
The terms of reference and time-table of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) review of the health of physics in the UK have been announced.   The review will: Consider the priorities for investment across physics as a whole, taking account of the need…
The RAS welcomes the government's position on 'open access' publications. Responding to the debate on 17 December 2005 on the Science and Technology Committee's report, 'Scientific Publications: Free for all? ', the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of…
The Institute of Physics and Royal Astronomical Society joint report: "Gazing at the Future: The experiences of male and female physics and astronomy doctoral students in the UK (2015)". Read the full report and the policy briefing below.  
The publishing policy of the Royal Astronomical Society, agreed in 2012.
The Royal Astronomical Society response to the 2011 International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service survey on the redefinition of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
The Royal Astronomical Society response to the 2009 European Union Commission consultation on the Digital Dividend (potential impact on radio astronomy).
The Royal Astronomical Society response to the 2006 European Union “Study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe”.
The Royal Astronomical Society response to the 2004 House of Commons Science & Technology Committee review of scientific publications.
The Royal Astronomical Society statement in response to the 2005 International Telecommunications Union proposal to abolish leap seconds.
The Royal Astronomical Society response to the 2004 House of Commons Transport Committee review of UK participation in 'Galileo'.
The Royal Astronomical Society written response, and oral evidence given, to the 2003 House of Commons Science & Technology Committee review of Light Pollution & Astronomy.