back to article PAC slams for lack of evidence-based science investments

The Public Accounts Committee has advised the UK government to take a more evidence-based approach when deciding spending on science projects, according to a report published today. The report comes at a time when the future of science funding hangs in the balance after the UK voted to leave the European Union. The EU gives …

  1. james 68

    So essentially she's saying that global warming science is bad for business and that means we should stop funding it? Same applies for theoretical physics which may have zero visible short term business sense, but without it the UK would lose it's place as a leading scientific community and that would DEFINITELY be bad for business.

  2. d3rrial
    Paris Hilton

    Robust business cases

    "All our funding decisions are subject to rigorous scrutiny and require a robust business case before spending is approved."

    YES! Fuck those smartypants "boffins" with their "fundamental science research"!!!

    Who needs those quantum thingiemagicks and those astrology boffins, you know the ones who make the space photos!!!!!11

    1. jasonbrown1965

      Re: Robust business cases

      . . .

      Do love me some robust business case. Lip smacking stuff.

      "Congratulations on your robust business case! Now, sign this non-disclosure agreement so that you can never talk science to anyone, or comment on public science debate like, oh, say, for example, whether or not corporate welfare is corrupting science."

      Or, "No talking, we're scientists" .. or, yes, "STFU boffins!!!!!"

      Protip: also sack all those smug fucking science journalists. Evidence-based policy my aching, free-trade arse.

  3. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Damn it

    There is already too much interference in research (at least in the areas that concern me) by people who think they are there to pick winners and/or make sure that the research followed is good for the economy or popular with commercial organisations or at least is good politically.

    This is not going to help.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yep on the face of it (all politicians actually care about as everything they do is short term based) research in to certain things can appear to be pointless ,theoretical physics is a classic example. But think of the things that research in to this has lead to, it just takes time!

    Lets face it the whole Brexit shit storm is BAD for science what ever way you look at it. I've said it before and I'll say it again the UK is BOTTOM of the G7 for funding science. And as long as we have so many clueless PPE fuckwits in government this won't change!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a down vote, must be a PPE graduate!

  5. James 51

    'safeguarding the benefits resulting from those decisions'

    Sounds like she wants to patent stuff like gravity.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Gov should take a more evidence-based approach when deciding spending on science project...

    ... or... anything for that matter.

  7. I am the liquor

    Quite how you make a business case for pure science, I don't understand. No-one knows what it will lead to. Unless the first priority is to build a working futurescope I suppose.

    I mean back in the early 1900s, when Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Fermi et al were coming up with all that batshit-crazy-sounding quantum theory stuff, who could possibly have predicted that it would lead to the semiconductors, transistors, microchips, computers, internet and, ultimately, lolcats on which our modern economy is based?

  8. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Evidence Based

    Since when has government policy been based on evidence? Policy is decided by either the "old boys" network or money (i.e. party donations, bribes, etc) Logic, Reason & Evidence have nothing to do with it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business case

    I use to handle funding decisions and did on one occasion point out that if there was a business case, business could do it. The whole point of public funding is when there isn't a business case.

    Oh and the Ministers who insisted we only fund research programmes that could be expected to meet 100% of their goals, or that business benefits be tracked after three years, or that we fund a national centre after devolving funds to the regions ....

    ah a non brexit rant - that's better ....

  10. BANGgoesthelabrat


    Actually, big (capital) science projects have way more evidence than normal government projects, if they didn't then the huge numbers of scientists who didn't get positions on the committee would raise hell. What this is about is the men in the ministry getting in on the act. At the moment the science community still believes in the Haldane principle and, since they are funded by non-departmental bodies, expect BIS et al to leave them to it. This is some civil servants trying to claw back control so they can spend the cash the way they would prefer. Their definition of evidence is probably quite "unique".

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just form another committee

    'decisions must be supported by a “sound business case” and must not pander to “political pressures of the day”.' Are these not the same?

    1. jasonbrown1965

      Re: Just form another committee

      . . .

      Could be the same.

      Be careful in your estimates tho - Only 97% of scientists agree that political pressures of the day stem from sound business cases, so we should probably act on the views of the 3% instead.

      If you want to be sure you're really on the right track, listen only to the 1% - they know what's really going on.

      . . .

  12. MT Field

    Thinking about emigrating again

    Is this going to be the start of Project Austerity 2.0?

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