Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Research Fortnight: Glass Half Full

I'm still catching up with various updates in my inbox. Interesting editorial in the last issue of Research Fortnight, which makes comparisons between the current government and the early days of Thatcher's government in 1979. As we all know, the current goverment's list of priorities 'does not include a place for university research.' So what should researchers do? They have a number of choices, Res Fortnight say:
'Those who want to be heard in the corridors of power need to start identifying influential thinkers. Willetts is important as the minister in charge. But he is not in the Cameron inner group. The so-called ‘Cameroons’ with research interests include the Conservatives’ policy guru Oliver Letwin, Nick Boles and Michael Gove, co-founders of the Policy Exchange think tank.

'Second, researchers should begin to find ways of working with the grain of coalition priorities. Instead of banging on about how state support for technology creates jobs, say how research can support the Big Society or free schools. Researchers with ideas and insights on these and other issues will have a guaranteed hearing in Whitehall.'

RF also suggests that, counter-intuitively, it might be a good time for critical researchers. After a time of boom when the government was giving a good deal of money to researchers, the relative dearth of funding will release critical researchers from any attachment to the government, and allow them to really speak their mind.

Good to hear that some are seeing the current situation as a glass half full...The full text of the article is available here (you'll need an RF login or campus access).

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