Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Committee Specialist from Ms Kathryn Newell, Department of Trade and Industry


  When we spoke a couple of weeks ago, I agreed to find some more information concerning the Ageing Research Funders Forum and the Cross Research Council Co-ordination Committee.

  The Ageing Research Funders Forum was announced in May by way of a Medical Research Council press release. The approach has been founded by the MRC, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department of Health (DoH) and it aims to stimulate and facilitate multidisciplinary work and develop research. I attach a copy of MRC's press notice about the new Forum4.

  Professor Sir John Pattison of the Department of Health will chair the first Forum meeting, which will not take place until the autumn. The Forum will provide an opportunity for the principal funders of ageing-related research in the UK to meet at regular intervals to discuss their current programmes and future research priorities and will help to promote joint working. The group's terms of reference will be discussed and agreed at the first meeting.

  The Cross Council Co-ordination Committee is a Research Councils only forum with members from the four Research Councils most directly involved with ageing research at the current time: MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, and ESRC. The first meeting took place this week and it is envisaged that the Committee will meet at least twice a year. OST are observers on this Committee.

  The aim of the Committee is to develop an overall strategic plan for the Research Councils; to discuss respective funding strategies and initiatives; to encourage the development of research activities across the Research Council boundaries and to consider ways of encouraging multidisciplinary research across the Councils.

  Professor Alan Walker, Director of the ESRC's Growing Older Programme, will develop the plans for the Cross Council Co-ordinated approach. He will do this in consultation with various stakeholders in ageing research. Professor Walker's team will also be taking on the management of AgeNet resources (website, database and registers) to ensure that these valuable resources continue to be available to the scientific community.

  I hope you find the above information and attached document[4] of help.

June 2000

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