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[Comment] Offline: The (higher) responsibilities of science and medicine

What are the duties of science and medical institutions in times of austerity? Their first responsibility is to protect and advance the interests of those they seek to represent. A fine example was on display last week after the announcement of the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Immediately, my email inbox filled with press releases from leading organisations within British science and medicine. Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Biology, struck a note of humble self-satisfaction—”We welcome the fact that the Chancellor and Ministers have listened to the science community.” Naomi Weir, Acting Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, echoed that view: “it is encouraging on many counts to see that the government has listened to the science community”.