Monday, 10 November 2008

Mandelson speaks on science

Research Fortnight reports that whilst addressing the House of Commons Business and Enterprise Select Committee on 21 October, Peter Mandelson said that he would have made a strong argument against the decision to shift science to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. Referring to his time in the DTI (when it had responsibility for science and business) he is quoted as saying, "What I promoted at the time was a bridge between the research that took place in universities, the excellent science base that we have in this country and the commercial sector."

Adam Afriyie, shadow minister for science and innovation has interpreted Mandelson's views as a clear criticism of Gordon Brown and his reorganisation of Whitehall. However, Phil Willis, chairman of the House of Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee is quoted in Research Fortnight as saying, "I find it quite amazing that someone who has been out of the loop for the last three years can come in making such statements about another department."

Research Fortnight (registration required)

1 comment:

Vincent McGovern said...


This comment is not really related to the topic "Mandelson speaks...".

There is a relationship in that I'm writing from DIUS but it is with regards to Higher Education rather then science. Other then posting a comment I don’t know how to contact you.

I've noted that you sometimes blog on HE issues. I just want to alert you to a recent HE development that is taking place at the moment.

You may have noticed that a number of media (broadsheets in particular) have picked up on the fact that a HE policy framework review is underway. A good example was last Sunday's Observer half page article (Universities face degree revolution) which picked up on the findings of reports that were written by Paul Ramsden, Christine King and the UUK amongst others.

These reports were commissioned by the Secretary of State John Denham earlier this year. They have been published unaltered yesterday (Wednesday) both on the DIUS website and on a HE debate blog that DIUS has running.

I'd like to direct your attention in particular to this HE debate blog ( that DIUS is running with JISC.

This blog is one of DIUS’s first attempts at using social/new media as a medium to communicate with interested people and stakeholder. The idea is that the nine commissioned reports are published unaltered on the blog and anyone with an interest in one, some or all of the issues raised can post their views and comment online on the accompanying blog. Views and comments posted will be fed into the broader debate and will also hopefully result in some debate on the blog itself on the issues.

There is interest out there in higher education and the issues linked to it. It would I think be a shame if those who are interested are not aware of the possibility of feeding their views on any of the issues directly into the debate and to the policy officials in central government dealing with the issue.

This is why I'm flagging the publication of the reports, the accompanying blog and the possibility for anyone with an interest to participate to you. As a blogger yourself you'll recognise the aims behind this approach (specifically trying to reach out to new, interested people and stakeholders and giving them the opportunity to participate). The more people who are aware of the process and the possibility to participate the more likely that a constructive debate can take place.

Given the focus of your blog I could see some interest perhaps in the reports and recommendations on issues such as ‘research careers’, ‘part-time study’, etc.

It would be very helpful if you could possibly refer to the HE debate, the reports and the opportunities to participate via the blog in a posting of yours as the more people who know about this HE debate and the opportunity for them to voice their views the better. You don't have to if you don't want to but I thought I'd ask.

Thanks for taking the time to read this email. If you want some more information just drop me an email ( before you publish this (if you choose to publish it as it is an FYI posting which I hope might result in a blog posting of your own).

best regards

Vincent McGovern