UK (and/or EU) Research Grant Prioritisation Pro – Forma

  1. I got onto a quango by mistake. Tell me why I should be bothered reading this technical crap?
  2. How will your research directly subsidise the UK/EU business community?
  3. How will your research covertly subsidise the UK/EU business community?
  4. How much of this benefit will be after the next election?
  5. How much fuss will the public make when we cut you off at the knees?
  6. Even if I agree with you, what can I do about it?
  7. Guess what our strategy is this week, and mark yourself against it on a scale of one.
  8. Why don’t you just shut up and do as you are told like I do?

Please answer in less than three sentences in Microsoft Comic Sans. Use long words if you like.

[Written in a fit of frustration Sept 2009, while lost in a swamp reading and writing lots of these for STFC, the EU and others. Serious point is that it is understandable for society to want to reap benefits from research. But centrally-directed initiatives, attempted pre-selection for economic “impact” and rampant managerialism are not best suited to achieving this. In the UK, the government tries to evade responsibility for the running down of basic, curiosity-led research across the whole of science (life-sciences and other physical sciences too, not just my area of particle physics) by hiding behind the “Haldane principle” (don’t ask). It’s like Henry II acting all surprised when his minions did for Thomas Becket. ]

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About Jon Butterworth

UCL Physics prof, works on LHC, writes (books, Guardian Science and elsewhere). Citizen of England, UK, Europe & Nowhere, apparently.
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