back to article NAO slates UK.gov's 'haphazard' sci-tech money-chuck plan

The National Audit Office has criticised the haphazard approach of the department for Business, Innovation and Skills in how it invests its multi-billion funds in big science projects, such as supercomputers. BIS has overall control of the government's expenditure on science, technology and engineering. The department is to …

  1. PaulAb

    PI3

    I recently purchased a raspberry pi 3, stacking 10 of these together I can run a LINUX XRDS cluster offering. I reckon this would class as a supercomputer, It's job will be to flash an LED in a very complex fashion, I want funding - how do I apply

    I thought that I should also mention that, if we leave the EU it has been suggested that I could afford 2 LED's I would of course, expect extra funding for this.

    (This comment is based on the minister in charge of BIS not knowing what an LED is).

    You ministers and your VSOP XXXX.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hurdles !

      Could not agree more, but maybe not for the reasons stated :-)

      IT is applying tech to business not science and should not get a penny of my tax money.

      Just to clarify "real" science and fundamental research goes a bit further afield than handholding hipsters on the silicon roundabout.

      I know physics, molecular biology, fundamental computer science and all that jazz are far less sexy than a shiny shiny app on an i-thingy or a-thingy... and they actually require substantial effort ( I know this is so last century).

      ~~

  3. Ian Bush

    Where's the recurrent spending?

    And if you are buying the toys for the minister to stand in front of where, as the article mentions in passing, where is the money to keep it going when the minister returns to his club in London? in my own area, supercomputing, the real issue is not a lack of toys to play with, it's a lack of skilled individuals to help people use those toys well and the money to fund the day to day running costs. Such people require a unique set of experience and skills, yet the wages available for them are often low for such a skill set (so recruitment is hard), there is often little chance of career progression, and funding such people through grant money is often difficult. Yet without them the capital investment is simple a pile of silicon, metal and plastic sat in the corner ...

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Not just the big spending. Still no sign of the £60m George Osborn promised REL in 2014.

    Still not arrived.

    I wonder if there's a story there?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Not just the big spending. Still no sign of the £60m George Osborn promised REL in 2014.

      The cheque is in the mail, honestly!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just the big spending. Still no sign of the £60m George Osborn promised REL in 2014.

        But was nabbed by the secretary who suddenly quit and moved to Brasil... ah now you remember !

  5. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Toys for the minister to stand in front of

    How about an array of 1,000 waterproofed PIs controlling lots of blinkenlights, immersed in a big plexiglass tank with sharks?

    But seriously, how about making sure that BIS has the resources (i.e. qualified manpower) to evaluate the projekts it may or may not fund first?

    1. Ian Bush

      Re: Toys for the minister to stand in front of

      For that money sharks with frickin' lasers surely?

      But seriously BIS does. That resource is called "The Research Councils." But because advice is given it doesn't mean it has to be listened to, for instance if it inconveniently doesn't recommend funding the ministers latest favourite new toy. In fact it might be better to reorganise things so that such advice isn't received in the first place.

    2. Canopus

      Re: Toys for the minister to stand in front of

      But my friend the problem is that the only qualified resources are the very people asking for funds.

      I mean who except an experimental high energy physicist can tell you if a £2M cerenkov scintillator

      is an actual and useful piece of equipment or if it's a code name for a large supply of vodka?

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: the only qualified resources are the very people asking for funds.

        Usually scientists don't get to referee their own grant applications.

  6. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Meg Hillier

    Meg bloody 'ID cards' Hillier is concerned the government isn't spending money sensibly????

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