Professor calls on Welsh Assembly to support NASA Beagle project*Of course I mean absolutely no disrespect to Professor Jones-Evans when I say: is 'leading academic' anything like 'area man'?
Apr 11 2009 byRachael Misstear, Western Mail
A leading academic* has urged the Welsh Assembly Government to help secure funding for the Nasa-backed Beagle project.
The ambitious £5m science project aims to recreate a full-size version of HMS Beagle – the ship that carried Charles Darwin around the world almost 180 years ago.
The Beagle Trust plans to build a replica of the 19th-century vessel in Pembroke Dockyard, and use it to research the effects of plankton on the world’s oceans.
Having secured backing from Nasa, it will be guided to algae blooms across the globe with the help of astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
But Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, who chairs the Welsh Conservatives’ funding commission, said he fears if the majority of funding comes from outside of Wales, the opportunity to lead the project will be missed.
Prof Jones-Evans, director of research and innovation at the University of Wales, added that Wales cannot afford to miss out on the long term investment.
One of the Beagle project’s founder members David Lort-Phillips, a scientist and regeneration expert** from Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, said some funding had been secured from the British Council under their special Darwin Now programme.
But he added: “It would be a great shame if we could not launch this project as something that has been born and nurtured in Wales."
**A correction from David Lort-Phillips : “[the] article says I am a scientist but this I am not. I have however worked over 25 years through the Pembrokeshire Enterprise agency (of which I was founder chairman) to support business formation and help the growth of SME’s in this part of Wales."