Wednesday, May 13, 2015

EU Shakes-up Its Science Budgeting

The BBC science piece of March 25, 2015 informs us on strategic moves by the EU Commission to overhaul the funding and management of science. The Commission wants early approval by the European Parliament so that deployment can start this summer.

Quotes by Sir Paul Nurse outline the concerns of the Nobel Lauerates in UK's Royal Society:
"EU Commissioner Moedas is committed to doing what is in the best interests of science across the EU.
I hope that he can bring that perspective to bear on the discussions
about a way forward on funding the EFSI that does not sell out the
science base.
There appears to be a growing groundswell of support for protecting
science from any raids on funding and the European Parliament is at
the forefront of that.
The Commission needs to show that it listens and that it recognises
the central role of research and innovation to long term sustainable
economic growth."

Mendes said, "We already have a lot of scientific advice in-house. We have high-level groups of experts, such as the Joint Research Centre. Now, we have to get independent scientific advice.

And last fall, Comissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said, "Europe's competitors have not stood still. The likes of the US, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore all have more intense spending than the EU bloc. China, too, is emerging rapidly. "If you look at the kind of massive investment they're making in research and innovation - I think that's a wake-up call for Europe."


Yes, old-line scientists are having a hard time swallowing a 2.7 billion euro shift of research funds to a new new 21 bn European Fund for Strategic Investment.
The new fund targets stimulation of innovation rather than support of pure science. Allocating EFSI funds involves not only sharing the proceeds but the politically sensitive job of picking winners.
Apparenty, Europe does not want Asia, America and Russia to get a lead in engineering and marketing of breakthrough technologies.

The installation of an independent panel to replace an appointed EU chief scientist tends to panic the folks at CERN and ITER. It is worthwhile to review three excerpts from the March 15, 2015 post, Is Proof of Dark matter Worth the risk?"
The design of progressively larger and larger nuclear and particle exploration has to end.
Just because engineering, mental and financial resources are available doesn't mean that "science for sience's sake" has to be pushed beyond sensible limits.
In internationally funded nuclear and particle research, scaling back should be the operating words.


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