Council meeting May 2007

The 65th meeting of the Council.

Tuesday 15 May

Item Number Item Description Document Reference
1. Minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2007  
2. Matters arising Oral
3. Interim Chief Executive’s Report EPSRC 11-07

For approval

Item Number Item Description Document Reference
4. Financial Statement 2006/07 EPSRC 12-07
5. Updated Delivery Plan & Scorecard for 2007/08 EPSRC 13-07
6. Financial Statement 2007/08 EPSRC 14-07

Policy Issues

Item Number Item Description Document Reference
7. Securing the Future – The Future of Fellowships EPSRC 15-07
8. Effectiveness & Efficiency of Peer Review Project – Next Steps EPSRC 16-07
9. Transformative Research EPSRC 17-07
10. ICT International Review Action Plan EPSRC 18-07

For information

Item Number Item Description Document Reference
11. Evaluation of Royal Society Industry Fellows Scheme EPSRC 19-07
12. Membership of Advisory Panels 2007/08 ESPRC 20-07
13. Diary of Events  
14. EPSRC Glossary and Acronyms  

Note of meeting

The new Chair introduced himself to Council members and outlined his thoughts on why he had taken on the role, highlighting in particular his belief in the importance of science and engineering and its contribution to society.

Council was asked to note the draft financial outturn for 2006/07, and to agree the budget for 2007/08. Council also noted the amendments to the current Delivery Plan, updated for 2007/08.

Council then considered proposals for a revised approach to EPSRC's Fellowships portfolio. A key component of the Council’s current Strategic Plan focuses on enhanced research careers, and in this context Council was asked to consider a rationalisation of its Fellowship schemes into two broad headings: 'early stage careers' and 'leadership'. Council agreed to the proposed approach.

Council was provided with an update on the cross-Council project to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of peer review, and was asked to consider specific implementation options: consolidation of research funding into larger and/or longer grants, extending the use of outline proposals, and controlling resubmissions. Council agreed to an increase in the extent of consolidation but cautioned that a discipline-specific approach would have best effect. Council agreed to extending the use of outline proposals in managed programmes, and asked for stronger messages to unsuccessful applicants as a strategy to manage resubmissions.

Council next considered a number of proposals for better enabling 'transformative' (or 'high-risk, high-impact') research. Council welcomed the principle and the intentions, and suggested that a distinctive pathway for encouraging such research was important, and advised that the use of stage-gating brought clear benefits. More detailed plans would be brought to Council.

Council commented on the draft action plan in response to the International Review of Information & Communication Technologies. Council was broadly supportive, subject to specific comments.

Council noted the outcomes of the Evaluation of Royal Society Industry Fellows scheme.

The next meeting of Council is on 11 July 2007.