Weekly Policy Round-up: 17 November 2017

17 November 2017

Photo credit: Jim Trodel

United Nations commit to elimination of coal by 2025

A global alliance, launched by the UK and Canada, to eliminate coal power by 2025 has been announced at COP23 – the United Nations’ annual climate change event ­– and backed by more than 20 nations. The Powering Past Coal Alliance promises to end ‘unabated’ coal power generation in favour of renewable energy sources. It hopes to reach 50 members by the end of 2019.

Climate Change Minister, Claire Perry, said: ‘Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states. The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed. The UK is committed to completely phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation no later than 2025 and we hope to inspire others to follow suit’.

S&T Committee advise Chancellor in run up to Autumn Budget

Norman Lamb, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, has written an open letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond, advising him to address several issues in the Autumn Budget – to be announced on 22 November in Parliament.

The main concerns of the committee centred around the Industrial Strategy, Brexit, and the science budget. ‘The white paper should be published as soon as possible, even against a still uncertain Brexit background, to help demonstrate the long-term direction of travel of the government’s Industrial Strategy,’ wrote Lamb, on behalf of the committee.

Other suggestions include committing to the UK’s participation in Horizon 2020 and retargeting the R&D Tax Credit system.  

REF 2021: How can industry help make an impact?

REF Manager Kim Hackett, speaking at a Westminster Higher Education Forum on 14 November, said that the weighting of impact for research will increase from 20% to 25% for REF 2021.

Malcolm Skingle, Director of Academic Liaison at GSK, welcomed the change, believing that the inclusion of impact in the REF has encouraged academic collaboration with industry – many of whom may have been sceptical of industrial research. ‘Every academic should think about the output of their research,’ he said, explaining that – in his experience – once working with industry, academics realise that the quality of scientific research in industry is generally quite high; particularly in the pharmaceutical and automotive sectors.

Read the full story here.

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