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  1. .

    Apologies for posting this anonymously. Our Vice Chancellor was one of those who signed the pro-EU advert in the papers the other week. No consultation with staff on this issue by the way.

    I’ve reviewed and been on panels for EU programmes and UK Research Council ones. What I’d like to point out is that the future isn’t necessarily going to be much like the past. The EU is under greater and greater stress. Lots of interests (e.g. in agriculture) weigh more strongly than science. The UK flow of taxes to the EU is very reliable, but the return of research funding from the EU really isn’t, especially as things get more difficult for it.

    http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2015/02/16/juncker-plan-315bn-investment-eu-trouble-nobel-scientists-criticise/

    The EU is an old structure, built in the 1950s. When new challenges appear the reflex seems to be to raid the science budget and pump the money into old-fashioned Keynesian digging-and-refilling schemes like the “European Fund for Strategic Investments”. A few people at the top seem to be able to implement things that seem like a good idea at the time. The cuts to H2020 were later reduced from 2.7bn euros to 2.2bn, but still…

    Yet the stresses continue to increase (ask our Greek colleagues). Lots of demands on EU funding in the region of the world with the lowest growth. Proposal success rates go down. The wasted human effort involved in repeated attempts to formulate proposals when the success rate is below 15% is mindblowing.

    In our department (which may or may not be typical I’ll admit) our EU income is projected to fall significantly in 2016. One can only buck the terrible success rates for so long. Being a relatively old member of staff I have to put on a brave face about H2020 options for the younger early-career researchers, but I really wonder whether I’m doing them a favour. Good for the department to keep moral up but not great for their careers. At each opportunity I encourage them to go for RC or even industrial funding to salve my conscience a bit.

    Anyway, the future isn’t necessarily like the past. In fact it could be very different.

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