Posted by: admin
There is a custom in the U.K. to submit petitions to the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street. It can be done in person, by mail, or electronically. Some of the petitions deal with science and technology issues. One that I saw circulate on a listserv claims that the U.K. government is moving its research portfolio to support research where the results are already known. As of today, about 1550 people have signed on to a petition pressuring the government to:
“request the reversal of a policy now being applied by the UK Research Councils. This policy directs funds to projects whose outcomes are specified in advance.”
This reads – at least to this American – that the U.K. is essentially supporting busy work – research that is pointless to conduct since the results are known in advance. Looking further at the petition, there is this text:
“Where a specific outcome can be predicted with confidence, then there is no research.”
“The UK taxpayer should not support investigations with foregone conclusions, however beguiling. UK research must not be guided by wishful thinking, nor relegated to producing footnotes for ground-breaking discoveries made elsewhere.”
There is a bit of a shift in perspective as the text proceeds.