Target:
The Trustees and Director of the Natural History Museum
Region:
United Kingdom
Website:
www.facebook.com

It is our understanding that budget reductions approved by the Natural History Museum (NHM) Trustees will entail the loss of some 40 posts across the NHM. To this end, we believe that the “strategic” closure of the Micropalaeontology Research Group has been proposed within the Department of Palaeontology “based on an estimation of the ability of the current micropalaeontology research programme to contribute to delivery of the NHMs scientific research strategy.”

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100611/full/news.2010.294.html

Given the many energy resource and environmental challenges facing our planet and society, it is our contention that micropalaeontological expertise is becoming more, not less, significant in industry, paleoceanography, evolution and mitigating the effects of global change. The NHM Micropalaeontological Research Group has made key, international-renowned contributions in all of these areas. The loss of this research expertise will damage both the UK and International Science community’s ability to respond to these challenges and the training of the next generation of industry and research micropalaeontologists – in terms of education and training perhaps irrevocably so.

Although we accept that NHM researchers are not directly responsible for collections management, it is extremely important to have high-level research micropalaeontologists in residence at the NHM who can interface with the many professional users of the NHM’s resources. Further, we understand that the Micropalaeontological collections manager is also to be made redundant, with no prospect of a replacement in the near future. The NHM houses one of the world's most important collections of natural history materials and an invaluable one for the discipline of micropalaeontology. We believe that the use and development of this collection will suffer long-term harm from the closure of the Micropalaeontology Research Group and redundancy of the Micropalaeontology collections manager.


We, the undersigned, urge the Trustees and Director of the Natural History Museum, London, to reject the proposed closure of the Micropalaeontology Research Group. We understand that the Museum is and will be under tight financial constraints in the coming years.

However, we strongly assert that a “strategic” closure of the Micropalaeontolgy Research group will prove to be a manifest and irreparable loss to the UK and International Environmental and Earth Science research and industrial communities.

Such a closure will also damage the external relations and international reputation of the museum for a generation. In its place we urge the Museum Trustees and Senior Management to undertake a more collaborative and flexible review of potential savings. We believe that this would command the support of both NHM staff and the wider community of museum users.

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