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On 6th February, the Government announced that from May 2016 any groups in receipt of public money cannot use those funds for ‘activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government or political parties... or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action’.

This could mean that scientists at UK universities will not be able to tell ministers what the policy implications of their work are, or respond to consultations in which their research is relevant without securing specific non-public funding to do this.

Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology said:
“Keeping the lines of communication open between researchers and government is vital in order to have the right public policies and regulations for health, environment, education and research itself among other things. We will be working closely with colleagues to ensure that the researcher voice in public and policy debate remains strong.”

21 April development: Signs of hope for science advice