2pm GMT is when STFC will announce its prioritised programme in astrophysics, particle and nuclear physics. What this effectively means, since they need to find ~£70M in cuts, is that this will be a cut list. By then end of today there will be far fewer projects in these fields, and probably far fewer people with jobs in them.
STFC is calling this exercise ‘Investing in the Future’ because they have to keep their political masters happy and because the people in charge haven’t got the backbone to admit the whole thing is cocked up. Keith Mason, the Chief Executive and an ex-X-ray astronomer (I can’t see any university department wanting to have him back), especially has been wholly craven in his stance on these cuts, going so far as to say this tis is good for the affected fields. I know the first job at STFC that I’d cut.
It is especially ironic that this is all happening on the same day that Herschel will announce its first full scientific results. Herschel has been an astounding success for UK science, both because the UK is the world leader in far-IR/submm astronomy, but also because we’ve led the construction of the SPIRE instrument which is performing superbly. But it is far from certain that the UK Herschel programme is going to survive today.
Those of you with twitter accounts might like to express your opinions on this issue, using the hashtag #stfc and with tweets directed at the science minister @lorddrayson