In a complete change of direction, this one goes out to a rant.
The financial situation for Astronomy in the UK has been dire for a couple of years. The whole story is complicated, and probably only fully understood by a small number of people (I can’t help thinking this is partly where the problem lies). The outcome is, however, rather clear.
The funding to Astronomy research, both to specific projects and grants that fund studentships and fellowships, has been slashed beyond the point of no return. Last week STFC announced the results of a prioritisation exercise and revealed 25-35% cuts in grants, plus the scrappage of many a good important and relevant projects. The result is a handicapped academic industry, which will now see their best either turning someplace else, or abandoning Astronomy altogether. Today, SFTC announced the cancellation of the 2010 round of Postdoctoral Fellowships – the most important fellowship scheme for young Astronomers in the UK – and quite frankly it seems with it to have stricken the final blow.