Should science only be funded if it makes money?

February 7, 2009

That’s the question posed by Lord Drayson (UK Government Minister for Science and Innovation) and picked up by the Guardian on Thursday, where it has already generated heated debate:

Should science only be funded if it makes money? | Science | guardian.co.uk

The responses so far can be largely summed up by “No! Are you joking?!” As someone who works in research funding, I can only shake my head and echo the words of “hungrydoug”: You can’t do applied science if you’ve got no science to apply.

The thing about research, in the true sense of the word, is that you don’t know if it’s going to give you the results you thought you were looking for. So how are you going to judge what will and will not yield a return?

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