Government pledges cash for academics

Plans for a new £23 million fund to help universities in the UK keep their best scientists were announced today by the Science Minister Lord Sainsbury.

Plans for a new £23 million fund to help our universities keep their best scientists were announced today by the Science Minister Lord Sainsbury.

It is planned there will be up to 200 new Academic Fellowships each year. The new Scheme aims to address concerns that the career path between PhD researcher and university lecturer lacks logical progression and job security.

‘It is vital that the UK maintains and expands upon its excellent science base, and one way of doing this is to provide more stable and attractive routes into academic careers in science, engineering and technology,’ said Lord Sainsbury.

‘These new fellowships will help UK universities retain post-doctoral researchers and build upon their record of academic excellence.

‘It is important that stakeholders have an input into how the scheme will operate, and I urge everyone with an interest in it to read the consultation document and take this opportunity respond,’ added Lord Sainsbury.

Each university will be able to submit one application per year. An application may include more than one Fellowship. The format of any award will be flexible but will typically provide top-up funding for the first two years, the majority of funding in the third year, and a decreasing percentage thereafter in years four and five.

Currently, £23 million in funding has been earmarked for this scheme until the end of the current spending review period in 2006. However, it is anticipated that it will continue beyond that time.

Consultation on the scheme begins today, and the closing date for responses is 14th November 2003. The Academic Fellowships consultation document, including a template for responses, can be found <A HREF=’http://www.ost.gov.uk/research/academic_fellowship_cons.htm’>Here</A>

It is anticipated the scheme will be finalised and the first annual round launched in early 2004, with a closing date for applications in late spring, and allocations made in autumn 2004.

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