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 structured, the Council of the RAS agreed to send the following statement to STFC :
- Those who have seen feedback comments find that they are much too brief and general to be helpful in framing a thoughtful and constructive response.
We strongly advise that either the feedback comments need to be expanded to make clear against what criteria there were concerns about lower rated projects, or the average scores against each criterion for each project should be published. We note that in some areas we have not been able to identify who has received the feedback.
- The time-scale for the consultation is just too short to be effective or inspire community confidence. We strongly advise that it be expanded past the RAS NAM meeting, which ends April 4th.
- We urge very strongly that the chairs of the ad hoc panels be invited to the Particle Physics Astronomy Nuclear (PPAN) meeting which generates the final priority list. This will greatly increase the community's confidence in the outcome.
- Without the above measures we do not think the community will have confidence in this peer review process. In future we hope that consultation of the community via an advisory structure will take place before processes of Programmatic Review and Science Strategy.