The UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology is to lose its funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills from April 2011. This is part of the latest round of spending cuts being carried out by the UK’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition government.
Since it was established in 2004, the UKRC has been the UK Government’s lead organisation for the provision of advice, services and policy consultation regarding the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology and the built environment (SET). The UKRC worked across businesses, universities, government and the third sector. They have funded a huge range of initiatives including Geek Girls (networking for women working in IT) and the Women of Outstanding Achievement Photographic Exhibition. Like GEA they support practice informed by research evidence.
Responding to the announcement, Annette Williams, director of the UKRC said “the loss of central funding will reduce capacity and expertise for this agenda and will result in reinvention and damage progress. We aim to work closely with the Government and partners in the sector to highlight why and where investment is still needed.”
Like Annette, I feel that this move by the government is short-sighted and through it we will lose much of our expertise in this area. It takes a long time to rebuild this sort of expertise once it is gone. This is another example of how destructive these cuts are.
(Heather Mendick, Goldsmiths, University of London)