Independant Review of EPSRC Consultation Published
In response to the pressure put on the EPSRC by groups like Science for the Future and the learned Societies (RSC, IoP, etc), the new Chairman of the EPSRC, Dr. Paul Golby, initiated a review of how EPSRC has consulted with and sought the opinions and advice from the research community when developing policy. This review ran for several months and took evidence from EPSRC staff, the learned societies, individuals and campaign groups such as Science for the Future and Council for the Defence of British Universities.
The report was published a few weeks ago and can be read here http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/press-release-documents/ReviewOfAdviceStreamsFinalReport.pdf
In it the committee pretty much back up the assertions of the community in that the mechanisms used for consultation, seeking opinions and feeding back to the community were opaque and lacking: pretty much what we had been saying for the last few years. The EPSRC has said that they will respond to the points raised in the review in September. I sincerely hope that they take notice of what the review says and use this as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to rebuild bridges with the community and change the way they seek advice from, and consult with the community.
I for one will await their response and applaud any genuine desire to change their modus operandi. However, if the EPSRC arrogantly squander this opportunity I will continue to be one of its harshest critics.