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Change RCUK, not the councils

Despite a broader scope, the Nurse review of the research councils can’t avoid covering old ground, Rebecca Hill finds.

Altering the number of UK research councils is unlikely to address the underlying problems of poor collaboration and management of interdisciplinary research, the review of the councils being carried out by the Royal Society president Paul Nurse has been told.
Instead, the message from 18 institutional responses submitted to the review and seen by Research Fortnight is that more thought should be put into developing cross-council relationships with government and making better use of Research Councils UK.

The unexpected announcement in December that there would be another review, just eight months after the latest triennial review, filled some commentators with dread. The triennial review had recommended no change to the councils’ structure, but the new review is much broader in scope. It has been asked to look at the whole research council system, including how strategic priorities are set, how councils work with government and what their role in regional development is.

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