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Astronomy: Finance

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much full economic costing funding the Science and Technology Facility Council's Grant Review Panel recommended to support sustainable research in the 2007 round of astronomy grants; and how much funding was provided. (200291)

STFC's Astronomy Grants Review Panel recommended the award of grants that included a full economic cost (FEC) element of £4.88 million. On receipt of this request the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) allocated £4.88 million of full economic cost contribution towards the cost of new astronomy grant projects in the 2007 funding round.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects of recent changes in funding for Jodrell Bank on UK capacity in astronomy and physics (a) education and (b) research. (200622)

Jodrell Bank Observatory is owned and run by the University of Manchester. It is involved in a variety of radio astronomy activities including the e-Merlin project. E-Merlin is the development of a network of seven UK radio telescopes run by the Jodrell Bank Observatory and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in partnership with the North West Development Agency and the University of Manchester. The STFC has recently undertaken a review of all its existing programmes to make sure they are delivering, or will deliver, the anticipated science output, and that they continue to represent value for money. The initial results of this review have been subject to consultation with the relevant scientific communities, and STFC is currently considering the responses it has received. STFC has yet to take a decision on its future level of support for e-Merlin. However, STFC has made it clear that the e-Merlin project is part of its strategy for radio astronomy and that it is in discussion with its partners about the issues raised by the review.