Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’
astronomy in the UK
Robert Massey
The Royal Astronomical Society
• ‘Learned Society’: began life as
Astronomical Society of London in
1820; received royal c...
The Royal Astronomical Society
Membership

Points of
contact
Committees
Officers and
Council

Secretariat

(Astronomy
Foru...
The good news… (!)
• UK astronomy and space science ranked global
1st in citation impact; 2nd in publications
(Science and...
The good news…

• 5215 places accepted on physics first degree
courses in 2012 (up 53% since 2004; UCAS)
Good news

• 928 places accepted on ‘astronomy’ first degree
courses in 2012 (up 60% since 2007; UCAS)
More astronomy in the media…
Stories from NAM in 2012...
But…
• UK Spending Review could see further cash
cuts to resources (20% in real terms from
2010-15)
• 56% cut in capital f...
Politics and publics
New
programmes

Education and
outreach

Research (e.g.
demographics,
impact)

Curriculum
proposals

P...
Political engagement
• Meetings with ministers, MPs, MEPs...
• Science policy events in Westminster,
Holyrood, Cardiff and...
Using the media…
Publications
• What has astronomy ever done for us?
• First booklet cited in Hansard (to my surprise)
• Second booklet out...
Policy: (small) successes
• Ministers talk about astronomy!!
• Cuts exacerbated by difficult funding
structure, exchange r...
Can the community help?
• Invite local MPs,
MSPs, MEPs to see
work in situ
• Take part in pairing
schemes
• Tell us what t...
Any Questions?
Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’ astronomy in the UK
Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’ astronomy in the UK
Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’ astronomy in the UK
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’ astronomy in the UK

377 views

Published on

Presentation on Royal Astronomical Society engagement with policymakers, given at the CAP 2013 meeting in Warsaw in October 2013.

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
377
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
12
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’ astronomy in the UK

  1. 1. Why fund us at all? ‘Selling’ astronomy in the UK Robert Massey
  2. 2. The Royal Astronomical Society • ‘Learned Society’: began life as Astronomical Society of London in 1820; received royal charter in 1831 • “…encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science.” • William Herschel was first president; current incumbent is Prof David Southwood (until 2014)
  3. 3. The Royal Astronomical Society Membership Points of contact Committees Officers and Council Secretariat (Astronomy Forum)
  4. 4. The good news… (!) • UK astronomy and space science ranked global 1st in citation impact; 2nd in publications (Science and Technology Facilities Council STFC) • UK in E-ELT, SKA, increased role in ESA • ‘STEM attractor effect’ accepted by UK government (see e.g. Osborne and Collins 2000, 2003) • STFC retains public engagement commitment
  5. 5. The good news… • 5215 places accepted on physics first degree courses in 2012 (up 53% since 2004; UCAS)
  6. 6. Good news • 928 places accepted on ‘astronomy’ first degree courses in 2012 (up 60% since 2007; UCAS)
  7. 7. More astronomy in the media…
  8. 8. Stories from NAM in 2012...
  9. 9. But… • UK Spending Review could see further cash cuts to resources (20% in real terms from 2010-15) • 56% cut in capital from 2010-15 • Postdoc numbers down 50% since 2007 • EU and Scottish referenda → additional uncertainty (and weak European engagement) • Still an overwhelmingly white male community
  10. 10. Politics and publics New programmes Education and outreach Research (e.g. demographics, impact) Curriculum proposals Political engagement Consultation responses
  11. 11. Political engagement • Meetings with ministers, MPs, MEPs... • Science policy events in Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont • Current inquiries into Scottish independence, scientific infrastructure, EU / UK competences and Women in STEM careers • Stepping up work on diversity
  12. 12. Using the media…
  13. 13. Publications • What has astronomy ever done for us? • First booklet cited in Hansard (to my surprise) • Second booklet out now… Targeting MPs who represent labs, observatories
  14. 14. Policy: (small) successes • Ministers talk about astronomy!! • Cuts exacerbated by difficult funding structure, exchange rate shifts etc – partly solved after intensive lobbying • Astronomy Forum → far better community relations • Flat cash budget from 2010-15 • UK Space Agency • Continued access to La Palma site
  15. 15. Can the community help? • Invite local MPs, MSPs, MEPs to see work in situ • Take part in pairing schemes • Tell us what they think – and want!
  16. 16. Any Questions?

×