An excellent “discussion” today using the Guardian’s comments section on future investment in science, organised by Stephen Curry. David Willetts found to time to be there for the first 45 min, which is unprecedented and certainly from my perspective, much appreciated.
Quite a few pages of comments, which are well worth reading here.
Without digesting the comments, what I take home is:
1. The community and the minister understand the tension between ego pushing for big flagship projects and efficacy. Indeed, to quote David Willetts “but in general I am a fan of flexible small grants”.
2. Apart from some single-issue comments, most were aimed at the general strategy for investment, which is entirely appropriate. Where the money actually goes in detail is not a strategic question.
3. There was a fair amount of discussion relating to informatics, big data (I personally consider a better term to be “data sharing”) and training.
4. There was discussion on faced by industry when they engage with universities and the weakness of the UK in translating. In my mind, the various issues in these threads are not entirely unrelated.
5. Infrastructure investment was discussed at all levels from the well found lab, to high end kit and new buildings.
So what next? I invite you to go an read the comments for yourself.