This is slightly worrying:
The basic idea is that the Haldane principle needs reviewing. This is the idea that researchers and scientists themselves decide what research should be funded, as opposed to a higher (governmental) system. The Haldane principle seems like a sensible idea to me. The fact that it has been around since the start of the last century doesn’t necessarily make it outdated.
Whilst I agree that issues like climate change and green energy need to be addressed, allowing politicians to become more involved in decisions about research, especially fundamental research, cannot be a good thing. I believe (or perhaps naively like to think) that researchers (even those at the top of the funding hieracy) are on average more motivated by their curiosity towards scientific discovery, rather than what will make them the greatest profit or keep them in government. And besides, do politicians really want to spend their days discussing detailed scientific issues in which they are neither qualified nor interested?
As a final point, the government (or shadow cabinet in this case) should really stop riling scientists like this. We’re paid lousily for our contribution to society, and there’s precious little money invested in fundamental research as it is. At least let us keep the right to choose what we want to research.
Right – that’s my political rant over for the year 🙂