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Royal Society Gravy Train

May 28, 2013

By Paul Homewood


The Royal Society



As part of the UK Government’s spending cuts, the grant the Royal Society received in 2011/12 was 2% lower than the year before. Nevertheless, government still provided funding of £48 million, amounting to 68% of the Society’s total income. Without state funding, the Royal Society simply would not be able to exist.

However, rather than cut its management costs in order to minimise the impact of the cuts on scientific research, the Society has actually increased them, with admin costs increasing from £4.5 million to £4.9 million, as their Annual Accounts for 2011/12 show.

Even more astonishing is the way that salaries have been rising for the top earners, as the table below makes clear. The number of staff earning £60,000 or more has risen from 10 to 13, compared to the year before, and there are now 4 earning more than £140,000, compared to just 1 in 2011.


The top earner appears to be the Chief Executive of the Royal Society Enterprise Fund, Dr Andrew Mackintosh. He was paid more than £330,000, including bonus.

The contrast with 2005 is even starker.  In that year, only 3 staff earned more than £60,000, and the highest paid was in the £100,000 – £110,000 bracket.




The backbone of the Society is, and always has been, its Fellowship, which is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Because of this, the Society has always been able to take pride in its independence.

There is now a real danger that this independence is being compromised by a combination of overreliance on government funding, and a management team happy to enrich itself from the public purse.



Royal Society Accounts 2011/12

  1. Joe Public permalink
    May 28, 2013 4:55 pm

    The truism “He who pays the piper, calls the tune” springs to mind.

  2. Streetcred permalink
    May 30, 2013 8:20 pm

    Reminds me of this Monty Python skit …


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