Whither blue skies research in UK universities?

by Dave Fernig (University of Liverpool)

The triennial review of the UK research councils has resulted in an excellent and challenging response, submitted by the Council for the Defence of British Universities (download document here). One important aspect of this document is that it highlights the shift in the tension between funding of near-term and blue skies research, exemplified by the growth of the non-science and non-budget sections of research proposals over the last decade or so. There has been a steady push from government over the past decades for “blue skies research” to “pay its way” and for the marketing of the innovation resulting from research. Research councils have responded by shifting resource to near-term research. An interesting counterpoint is from government itself, in the form of a nice quote from David Willetts on page 4 of the document “Governments picking winners can easily become losers picking government programmes”…

read the rest of this post on Dave’s blog, Ferniglab.