A Case for "Blue Sky" Research
As the research councils start planning for a new spending review after the general election, they will undoubtedly come under pressure from government paymasters to ensure that the UK science base delivers on the promises made by the research councils to do science which will benefit UK GDP and have identifiable impact. Readers of this blog will know that I am a fierce opponent of top down directed research of the type now favoured by the research councils. Readers will also know how much I ridicule the idea of predicting impact or the national importance of any one piece of scientific research. I was therefore heartened to discover a brilliant assessment of these very issues by Sir John Cadogan and the responses he received from a large number of eminent scientists. His paper and the responses can be read at
http://bit.ly/lswbluesky. I hope that a copy of this finds its way on to the desks of the government ministers, treasury officials the the senior management teams of the research councils.