More on Science Policy

This is a guest contribution from Luke O’Neill, in response to some of the criticisms levelled at his original Irish Times piece.  Thanks to Luke for submitting the comment:

Good to see the debate on Science funding in Ireland proceeds apace. 2 things- first I’m always surprised at being accused of having a vested interest. Of course I have a vested interest having been at this profession for 25 years and really believing in scientific research as an extremely important activity that should in part be funded by governments. Doesn’t everyone have a vested interest of some sort?

The second thing I get accused of is of not providing enough facts. Well there are so many facts out there when trying to measure ROI and its been going on for years and years with no absolute answer. The one conclusion that most countries draw is that it is a good thing for governments to support basic research. I guess in Ireland since the budget is tight the question is can we afford it or not? If we decide that we can’t afford it I think this would be very negative indeed but obviously many think it would not be negative, although what they want instead is not necessarily spelt out. The question then arises as to where a govt should put its money regarding science and technology. What would be good would be for there to be a debate on this and to compare the alternatives with agreed metrics.

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