Coalition cuts Tim Berners-Lee's web science centre

As more details come to light about where the Government’s £6.2 billion worth of cuts will come from, the Institute for Web Science becomes one of the first projects on the chopping block.

Cost cutting

The Institute for Web Science has become the latest victim of coalition cuts to reduce the UK's deficit.

As each department slowly begins to reveal where their cost savings are coming from, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) confirmed the recently set up institute at Southampton University faced the chop.

A spokesperson from the department told IT PRO: "In light of the current pressures on public finances, the Government has decided that it cannot support the creation of a new Institute for Web Science at Southampton University at this time."

BIS was initially set to front up 30 million of funding for the institute, which was the brainchild of internet creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt.

However, it now claims there are enough other projects around the subject without needing to spend this extra money.

"Future internet technologies represent an important area of research, which continues to be supported through the research councils and the Technology Strategy Board," added the spokesperson.

"The research councils are investing 117 million in a Digital Economy Programme to help drive research in this area and more than 30 million is being invested specific projects relating to the semantic web."

Professor Shadbolt told the BBC he was "obviously disappointed" by this move but added: "We do understand that immediate decisions had to be made about what not to start, pending a wider review of priorities in the Spending Review and the development of a fuller business case."

Yesterday the new coalition Government laid out their plans of 6.2 billion cuts in the public sector to help the UK in its recovery from the recession, including 95 million worth of cuts from public sector IT projects.

A full breakdown of the figures has yet to be released.

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