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back to article Is Mandy right to cut science funding?

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is to investigate government plans to take an axe to science, technology and engineering funding. Lord Mandelson has repeatedly said that spending on such subjects should be strongly tied to stuff which is likely to make money. We have pointed out the difficulty in knowing …

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WTF?

weird weird

every other nation is investing more money into education and science but the UK gov does the reverse... (may I remind everybody that the UK is one of the worst hit in the recession).

UK passport holders, please vote Labour out

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Joke

But how can this be true?

Gordon Clown said "Britain is leading the world out of recession..."

LOL

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To finish the line:

...and into depression.

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FAIL

I can think of better things to cut funding for...

....like pointless wars and trident.

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Paris Hilton

Science, Science, Science!

Sounds about right for this morally and financially bankrupt regime!

First it was Education, Education, Education - they appear to have bunked off class for that one!

The 10 year Integrated Rail Transport Strategy announced should have been Finished in 2007, you cant even bunk the fare on that one.... as it also got derailed...

Now, today when other media reports are highlighting the need for UK Plc to go out and compete in more foreign markets based upon the (German approach) of "making real stuff" that gives "Real Money" opposed to the huge financial confidence trick of recent times.... we are supposed to can the engineers, technicians and scientists who would drive this new industrial revolution

Mandleson is a ****, Paris - as she recognises a big c**k when she sees one!

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Big Brother

Cut to the bone

After all, with an economy based almost entirely on shopping, what possible use could we have for science and technology anyway.

Darkness is the de-facto standard. Make a virtue out of necessity, Forget what we said last week/month/year, this is the new truth.

Did anyone vote for this?

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Anonymous Coward

Science following the money

I can't help thinking that the "Science research must deliver what market wants" attitude that has developed over last 10-20 years may well have been a factor in the "climategate" revelations .... if the UN comes to you and asks you to advise them on the dangers of climate change then there must be some implicit pressure to come up with findings that support the basic premise.

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Got to tout for funding

It's getting to be like USA... Scientists competing for funding sex up their applications by trying to make them current etc. Scientists spending time doing talks and building up their image/reputation rather than getting on with the science.

No wonder the practice of science is far from the ideal of dispassionate search for the truth. Instead it's secrecy, back stabbing and character assassination that looks more like politics or a gangland turf war.

If this is what modern science is, well bugger it. No point in publicly funding it. May as well privatise science and leave it to the corporates.

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Pirate

If you ask me, there are better things to take an axe to...

...and Peter Mandelson would be fairly close to the top of the list. Preferably, this would not be a metaphorical axe.

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WTF?

There's another reason.

Given the fall in education standards since this lot took power, I'm surprised if there's enough people capable of doing any worthwhile research.

Actually doing the research also pre-supposes we have an manufacturers left to use it.

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Anonymous Coward

Decline has going on for years

Ever since number of pupils obtaining As, Bs, Cs etc became political fodder the standards have been decreasing.

The purpose of exams used to be so that employers and Universities could distinguish between between applicants and take on the brightest. Now it seems the purpose is to make the pupils feel good about themselves.

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Where did all the manufacturers go?

And who was in charge when they went?

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FAIL

Another bloody Mandy FU.

Of course he's not right. Nothing the man says or does is right.

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Flame

Also

GB is not called 'Jonah' for nothing. Everything he touches or wishes luck to goes pear-shaped.

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Grenade

I see!

If we can cut science funding and add £25 tax on every internet connection, then we MIGHT be able to sustain the entertainment industries for another three years, maybe two.

Doesn't matter that this might turn us into a third world country, we'll still be able to pay £1 to buy a song released 50 years ago (which should really be in the public domain).

Totally worth it, I say. Let's all vote Labour just to see what other utter shite they'll come up with next. /sarcasm

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WTF?

He is not even an MP.

I still find it funny that a man who isnt even an MP gets to have so much power. He seems to have his fingers in more pies and have more power than Brown himself, but then again no one voted for Brown to be in charge either so at least its consistent.

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Coat

JOKE

You've got a week and a bit to get your s**t together, otherwise I'm blowing Mandelsnot sky high!!

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Stop

Track Record

Given his track record, If Mandelson say we *should* do something, then that is the best reason in the World for *not* doing it.

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Mandy

Is hardly ever right, and he definitely isn't about this one, why do we have someone with a degree in PPand E in charge of this sort of thing. If this goes through it will be on a par with John Harvey Jones' decision to slash R&D at ICI, great in the very short term but absolute disaster for any future products, or in this case graduates. Mandy needs to realize that without scientists and engineers and the products they research and develop the E in his PPE is fucked, trying to predict which piece of research is going to be the basis of a new area of industry is like pissing into the wind with the full expectation of staying dry.

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Real problem is

Mandelson is concentrating on immediate gains in relatively well understood fields where Britain will be competing against other countries - most of which will still have large manufacturing bases ready to commodotise discoveries. So even if we do find something cool, we won't be able to make it.

He should be doing a DARPA and funding seriously blue-sky research in the full knowledge that things might not work out - but if they do, we will have a field more or less to ourselves.

In short, John Naughton is bang on the money.

Oh and the majority of money will still go to the Russell Group of universities whether they deserve it or not.

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So much for them investing in the future.

Maybe we could have a fire sale for the UK instead, to find the money to pay off their huge government debts. Because by the time this bunch of out of control tyrants are finished finding ways to screw up (and screw over) the UK, we won't have much remaining other than effectively a burnt out former version of the UK. :(

I know, how about the two faced, traitorous, Lord tyrant Mandelson being charged with treason against the UK.

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Moron

Despite being unelected, this idiot seems to be running the country now.

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Anonymous Coward

Could be (slightly) worse

It could still be the one eyed Scottish idiot. At least the decor will be tasteful if Mandy's running things.

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What to cut

Lets double science funding and cut Mandelson ( into hundreds of pieces )

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Unhappy

I'll pretend I didn't understand that

but the sad fact of the matter is, I did.

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Because we all need...

....morons like Mandy telling us what's best. Science is only good if it makes money. Dick. He sounds like that money grubbing arsehole Drayson. At least Drayson seems fairly bright though.

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On the misunderstanding of science

I would have thought that even a fool would know that if you understand something well enough to predict that you can make money from it, then the research has already been done.

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Grenade

Luddite

nuf said

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WTF?

Mandy who?

Mandybum shouldn't even be in a position to make these decisions! How the hell does such a disreputable, hugely-hated, unelected politician get to have such power in a supposedly democratic country?

With science currently regarded as little more than inscrutable magic by most of a technically-dyslexic population (including politicians) - not to mention the increasing influence of religious fundamentalism - it must be clear that science education is more crucial than it's ever been.

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Big Brother

Mandy or Maggie, who can tell?

I remember Maggie Thatcher saying almost exactly the same things.

I feel an Animal Farm quote coming on.

"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

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Vive La Difference

Maggie was elected. By the 3rd time the Electorate knew *exactly* what they were voting for so there can be no excuses. Irrespective of whether her policies were good or bad, she *did* have a mandate from the Electorate.

Mandy, on the other hand, is an unelected stooge who twice disgraced himself when he *was* an elected representative.

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Anonymous Coward

enough people capable of doing worthwhile research

There are some university departments in the UK doing world-leading research, but if you look at the post-graduate students there you'll find that more than 95% of them are from abroad. Increasingly, a large proportion of the lecturers and professors were educated in other countries, too. However, as the UK continues not to invest in basic education, to what extent is this sustainable?

(Why do these clever people from all over the world come to the UK to work? In many cases they come from countries that are poor or politically unstable so there is no possibility of doing advanced science at home. Usually they have to learn English to read scientific papers, so coming to a country where they can use English outside work, too, must seem like an advantage. I would guess that it is cheaper and easier to get into the UK than into the US, and the UK is probably more friendly towards foreigners than the US, particularly if you are a Muslim or look like you might be a Muslim. However, I don't think these advantages are enough to prop up UK university research indefinitely.)

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Actually there's something in this but it works both ways

I've had experience with both academia and industry (more in the latter) and there's an attitude in academia often of being indifferent to the applications of their work, sometimes even scornful (yes, really). So they don't push their work over onto the dirty, real-world, side of the fence where it would be stressed, mangled and generally tempered until it was either improved and used, or finally shown to be nonviable. There's too often too much theory without practice there.

And to our the business side - they are so busy getting stuff done that they are ignorant of useful prior work and do it again badly, or are outright scornful of theory (yes, really, I've heard the disparagement from this side too). Sometimes theory is just scarily hard and would involve, you know, doing some reading etc.

There are plenty of exceptions but still comprise a small minority. Both sides need to build bridges. Basic research matters of course, but not as much as getting them co-operating and using what's already been done, and in this I have to blame business more than universities.

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clarification

I'm talking mainly about the IT industry.

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Anonymous Coward

Not everything really has applications

I was recently asked how I could "monetize my research to develop industry partnerships or spin-off companies" or some such bollocks.

I'm a fucking theoretical astrophysicist.

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Gold badge

Monetize your research...

...and build me a goddamned warp drive.

Stargates and or gravity manipulation tech are also acceptible.

Either that or conclusively prove Hawking or Higgs right. Either or, let's just get moving on this allready! I'm getting old, and I want my flying cars on other planets allready.

:D

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FAIL

The worst part

The worst part of this British governmental FUBAR is that there IS no decent opposition.

Conservatives: led by a two-bob knock-off copy of Blair

Lib-Dems: utterly toothless

If I burn my British passport, how long would it take me to naturalise as a German?

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How long would it take me to naturalise as a German?

Eight years and you have to learn German.

Of course, you don't have to be a German citizen to live in Germany.

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Woah there, cowboy

The Lib-Dems are great on paper, and evidently the sane option, but they have to go up against a veritable circus of idiots, and try to appeal to yet more idiots (some 30+ million of them) in order to gain power.

Being relatively new, untried, untested, and relatively unsensational, the Lib-Dems are toothless beyond the educated classes. Read a tabloid, and tell me its audience and the Lib-Dem voting populace have a large intersection.

Didn't think so.

So when I say there's no opposition, I mean it. It's either the current idiots, the other idiots, or the Nazis, because common sense is dead in Britain.

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FAIL

BTW

I've actually voted Lib-Dem. For both Local AND General Elections.

Thanks for joining in.

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Pint

Bravo

Couldn't agree more. I don't have any particular political preference generally, but over the last few years the yellow team seem to be a lot more logical, sensible and methodical rather the other two groups of self-serving PR muppets.

And have a beer for shutting up the people that moan about this country yet slate unelected parties. We all have a vote.

Just need to get some decent, positive scandals or stories for the great unwashed to get onboard (Nick Clegg did weed at college, Lib Dems would abolish fuel tax etc.)

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Unhappy

Cuts are never popular

Is Mandy right to cut science funding? Hmm, let me think no one is going to say yes, I'm really glad science funding is being cut, it's just what the doctor ordered.

Cuts are bad, and there will be more to come, the political reality is that savings have to be found, sadly science funding is an issue that not all that many people care about so is less politically damaging than cuts elsewhere.

We have a large public sector deficit and budgets everywhere are under review, these reducing aren't the first and if they didn't happen now they would have happened after the election no matter which party wins.

For those of us to care about science funding we have responsibility to lobby for the money back plus real increases once the currently public sector squeeze has eased, but that is likely to be at least 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

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Cost of Science

Lord Mandelsons current salary is around £104,000. I recently costed a 3 year research project to study potential treatment targets for untreatable cancer at £150,000 or half a Mandelson a year. As with most research in the UK this project was submitted for peer review and funding, in this case to a prominent cancer charity. The proposed research was found to be of high quality and that it could provide treatment targets for cancer patients however there was not sufficient funds to support the research.

It is a constant struggle to find funding for research in the UK already even for relatively cheap projects, despite this the UK still has 4 universities in the top 6 in the world. Cuts in science funding would threaten one of the few areas that the UK is still leading the world in.

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Anonymous Coward

We should definitely cut science funding

This country needs to focus on it's strengths, the sectors that bring in money: manufacturing, industry and banking!

As if any country can bring in money from research and innovation. Ridiculous!

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Anonymous Coward

LOL

Banking, a strength, that's the funniest thing I've read all day, and I've been on The Onion...

The only think banking is good for is bankers! As for Manufacturing and Industry....could you let me know exactly what are strengths are in those fields?? Cos the last time I checked we didn't have much of those things left here either. Doesn't China do most of the manufacturing ?

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Coat

LHC

How about we collide Mandy with a large hadron?

Mine's the black one with the hole in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

It'd take too long to clean up.

I'd prefer it if we could collide him with a large truck. At least that way we could jetwash the stain off the tarmac.

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Public borrowing & spending

I'm not agreeing with the Dark Lord but public borrowing is way too high and the only way to reduce it is to cut public spending. Like it or not, the axe is going to fall everywhere and that will include publicly funded scientific research.

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