Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

U.K. Chief Scientific Advisor Discusses Funding, Priorities, and Communication



[1] Like other countries facing a tough economy, the government in the United Kingdom has been under pressure to make cutbacks; as budgets are becoming increasingly tighter, funding for scientific research competes with other priorities. However, in its most recent spending review, which came out last fall and sets spending levels for the next 4 years, the U.K. government provided flat funding levels for scientific research, while most government departments saw their budgets cut by 30–40%. “That was actually a major commitment by a government that was cutting everything,” Sir John Beddington, U.K. chief scientific advisor, toldEos in a one-on-one telephone interview in mid-April. Beddington, who has been chief scientific advisor since 2008, shared with Eos his thoughts on priorities for science in the United Kingdom in a tough budget environment, getting expert science advice for policy making, providing scientific information following disasters, and communicating about climate change.