The curious relationship between science and government

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 30 July 2009 15:06

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I’ve just caught up with the recent report from the Commons Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills, published a couple of weeks ago, on Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy.

I haven’t had time yet to read through it properly, but at first glance, it looks like a useful document. In particular, it looks to explore the relationship between the independence of the scientific process and the role that governments envisage for themselves with regard to research strategy. The place of the Haldane Principle (the notion that "decisions about what to spend research funds on should be made by researchers rather than politicians") in our contemporary context receives much attention in the report. Thus the Committee, recognising the desirability of a new research funding principle, calls for "a new framework to replace the Haldane Principle […] that adds transparency and rigour to the relationship between Government and the research community." Not a trivial matter.

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