Criticism from the Wellcome Trust has thrown the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s future into doubt. Astrophysicist Paul Crowther looks at the case for yet another reorganisation of his discipline’s funding.
My PhD was funded by the Science and Engineering Research Council, and my first postdoctoral grant came via the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council. Jumping to the present, my students and postdocs are supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Anyone unfamiliar with the recent history of the UK research councils might suspect that I have either changed fields during my research career or that I work across several disciplines.
In fact, it is the scope and remit of the councils supporting my research that has ebbed and flowed. Overseas colleagues—even British ex-pats—often ask: “Just what is your funding agency called these days?”