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Jodrell Bank spared the chop

Sci-Tech Facilities Council sees sense

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The UK's celebrated Jodrell Bank has been granted a reprieve by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the BBC reports.

The STFC had proposed to axe the annual £2.5m public funding for eMerlin - an upgrade to the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network between the UK's seven radio telescopes, run from Jodrell Bank - in the process flushing the £8m already spent on the project down the toilet and killing Britain's radio telescopy capability.

The plan met with something close to complete outrage in the UK's science community, but Jodrell's operator, Manchester University, says it has now agreed a deal with the STFC which "guarantees full funding for the next two years". This, the uni adds, will allow it a breathing space to seek long-term funding.

Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, enthused: "We are delighted that the STFC has recognised the scientific importance of eMerlin and the Square Kilometre Array*, and that they have provided a commitment to fund these important projects, which will guarantee the future of Jodrell Bank." ®

Bootnote

*The Beeb explains: "The lessons learned on eMerlin will be fed into the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project - a giant next-generation radio telescope, for which Jodrell is leading the development work."

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