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NERC pushes ahead with plans for governance changes despite privatisation worries

The Natural Environment Research Council has decided to move forward to the second stage of reviewing the ownership and governance of four of its centres.

The decision was made at a NERC council meeting, held on 4 and 5 December, following a call for evidence and an external review of whether the British Geological Survey, the National Oceanography Centre, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science should be given independent status.

The external panel, chaired by Loughborough University vice-chancellor Robert Allison, concluded in its report “that the status quo is not a viable way forward” and that NERC is “potentially compromised by being both a commissioner and a supplier of science”. The report suggested making the centres government-owned or establishing them as private entities.

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