Dear Mr Juncker, We write to you on the subject of the appointment of a new Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission; a post held until recently by Professor Anne Glover. We commend the record of Professor Glover, the first postholder in this position, both in her role as an adviser […]
The Association of Liberal Democrat Engineers and Scientists (Aldes) welcomes the positive language used by the Chancellor in his aspirations for Britain to continue to play a globally significant role in science, technology and engineering. We are also pleased to see the increase in capital spending, which partially mitigates earlier underinvestment in this area.
Paul Nurse has written an excellent article in the Observer discussing science funding and its broader importance in the UK economy. George Osbourne has apparently made science a “personal priority”, which, with deficit reduction the dominant theme of the current government, has meant protecting funding in cash terms. Paul goes on to say – “However, as […]
Are we seeing some change in the way societies view drugs?
Last December Uruguay legalised cannabis, and in the US, the states of Colorado and Washington legalised cannabis for personal use in 2012. The Netherlands has, for some time, allowed cannabis use in specialist coffeeshops. Of course, none of these examples have opted for free and unfettered access for all, but rather a regulated system where the authorities can exert control. The Uruguayan plan includes a user registry, a tax, and quality control, with the aim of reducing profits for organised crime, and reducing drug related violence.
Liberal Democrats are deservedly pleased that the British economy is turning the corner, both in terms of growth and employment. But how can we ensure that we maintain and improve on this trend? Aldes are concerned that one of the greatest threats to maintaining sustainable growth and prosperity is the skills gap, where the UK is unable to meet the demand of employers for high-value technical and industrial skills.
Chris Huhne, former Energy and Climate Change Secretary and member of ALDES, recently wrote this critique of fracking in the Guardian.
Personally, I don’t like the abrasive and sarcastic tone of it but he makes some very valid points nonetheless. In particular he points out that the USA is disconnected from the world’s gas market allowing a local surplus to cause gas prices (and coal prices) to drop in the USA. The UK, in contrast, is very connected indeed and even if we did produce masses of Shale Gas at reasonable cost it will not be enough to depress gas prices all over Europe and beyond.
At Autumn Conference in Glasgow this weekend, Aldes is hosting a joint fringe event with the Green Liberal Democrats to discuss which options are available to harness tidal energy on a scale that could make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy mix. Speakers include Brian Mathew, David Langston, Mary Page and Andrew Jamieson.
This week saw MEPs, the European commission and national science ministers agree a deal on the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 for €70.2bn. This deal will make it easier to access funds with more emphasis being put on innovation as well as a dedicated instrument for small businesses.
I recently had the chance to visit the 2013 Cheltenham Science Festival and it was wonderful to be gathered together with scientists and engineers, academics and practitioners, geeks and boffins (and I use those colloquialisms with affection!), presenters, enquiring minds; young and old and pretty much anyone who loves experimenting with, well, SCIENCE!
The season of giving is descending on us as Red Nose Day 2013 approaches, but the UK dropped the ball on international aid last week as lack of time in the parliamentary timetable meant that the private members bill proposing legislation to commit the UK to the 0.7% GNI aid target, as laid out in the Coalition […]