In the days following Willetts’ big science policy speech, there had been a piece in Nature by Daniel Sarewitz and letters from disgruntled physical scientists to the EPSRC that in different ways highlighted the role of scientists in directing research funding. I was therefore asked by the Guardian higher education network to offer some further thoughts on who should decide how science is supported by public money.
Which I did, in a piece cobbled together last week and published yesterday. Please have a look.
In the meantime, there has appeared a superb analysis of Willetts’ speech by Richard Jones (a physicist and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield). William Cullern-Bown at Research Fortnight has also written a very perceptive blow-by-blow account.
I recommend both — each makes the point that the Willetts was signalling a more fundamental shift of industrial and scientific policy than I had realised.