RSC President comments on new EPSRC funding outline

25 July 2011

The funding changes outlined this week by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will reduce the amount of funding available for synthetic organic chemistry, but chemists in that area can find support through other routes, said Professor David Phillips, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

"While we wish there were an unlimited funding pot for chemistry research, a tough economic situation means tough decisions have to be made. EPSRC has made an objective decision to reduce the funding in an area they see as having a lower return on investment," said Professor Phillips.

"This does not mean zero funding for the area, and since other areas have been earmarked for increased funding, the RSC would encourage synthetic organic chemists to find funding by applying their skills in a multidisciplinary fashion - through materials or biomedical research, for example - and we can help them do that.

"Pragmatic organic chemists will be stimulated to explore how their research interests can mesh with other areas."

EPSRC announced on Wednesday their plans to manage a 12-15% funding cut in real terms.

Viewing synthetic organic chemistry as having been of lower return on investment in recent years, EPSRC will allocate less funding to projects in this previously strong area.

Fields that offer what EPRSC views as better economic return potential, such as catalysis, will have increased funding from its 830m budget with respect to previous years.

As many more of the one hundred and eleven EPSRC research areas remain 'under review', the chemical science community should use this opportunity to provide the evidence to 'grow' the chemical science-related areas.

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