Monday, 18 May 2015

'I Believe the Children Are Our Future'

All of us, without exception, carried knives — and I guess the Tories would have locked us up for this today, if they’d kept their 2010 manifesto pledge of mandatory prison sentences ‘to send a serious, unambiguous message that carrying a knife is totally unacceptable’
EPSRC Scientists getting busy
with 'Adventures in Energy'
'Whitney Houston' and 'cutting edge research agendas' are not concepts that are usually sited side by side. Well, all that could be about to change.

As any Whitney fan will know, she believed that children were our future. Indeed, she suggested that we should teach them well and let them lead the way. Now, funders are beginning to see the gnomic wisdom of her words.

At the end of last month the Scottish Government took its cue from five year olds and issued a research tender for a project asking a key pre-school question: 'how high do birds fly?'

Surprisingly, funders have been slow to latch on to five year old wonderment as a potential inspiration for the research agenda. More fool them. As Whitney would doubtless point out, who in society is asking the searing, fundamental questions that unlock the Universe? Five year olds. That's who.

Luckily, the ever-reliable EPSRC has been fast out of the gate. You've still got five days to put in your bid for 'Adventures in Energy', which sounds suspiciously like the title of a Ladybird book. Hopefully the guidelines make clear that any outputs should be fully illustrated, and include plenty of men in suits with pipes. In addition, the Pathways to Impact (another Ladybird title) can be a real actual pathway, possibly coastal, reached by means of a treasure hunt, and the eligible costs can include 'Ginger Beer (lashings of).'

I hope this is the beginning of an exciting new trend. I look forward to an AHRC philosophy/theology interdisciplinary call on 'Why Do Some People Do Bad Things?', an ESRC call on 'What Do People Do All Day?' (in collaboration with the
Richard Scarry Institute), and a Wellcome call on 'How Can Something So Small Make Us So Sick?'

Others have suggested that this trend be extended into popular music, starting with 'Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear Every Time You Are Near?'

Whilst Whitney might concur, this idea is clearly preposterous. Honestly, people. Get real.

No comments:

Post a Comment