Victory in the name of science


25 January 2008

The Royal Society of Chemistry, which campaigned to get the word science into a new government select committee, today celebrated a victory.

The organisation had pushed for the word to be in the title of a committee due to replace the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

The government yesterday said that it had "recognised the importance of the cross-departmental scrutiny of science by the House of Commons agreeing to change the name of the select committee."

 The new name is Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee.

Chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Dr Richard Pike, said today:  "On behalf of the UK science community I think the Government's decision is both sensible and very welcome and it partially puts right a presentational error made six months ago when the word 'science' was omitted. 

"But the inclusion of science is of more than merely symbolic significance. Yesterday's announcement was a belated but nonetheless welcome recognition of the centrality of science to issues that arise right across the whole field of Government and now the Select Committee will be better able to exercise its proper constitutional role - and be seen to do so - in the knowledge that science is a vital part of its purpose and properly reflected in its title."

The RSC led the science community in July 2007 in advocating that 'Science' be included in the title both of the Department (DIUS) and the House of Commons Select Committee. 

Richard Pike wrote to the Government Chief Whip and the Leader of the House and was the lead signatory of a letter published in The Times drawing attention to the future of the (then) Science & Technology Select Committee.

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