Re: Train Strike - next week
States didn't used to fund research, or at least not very much.
Academic research was usually done by rich buggers who could afford to and were curious or because rich buggers funded it. State funding of university research is quite new.
By "railway time" increasingly those rich buggers were the industrialist who'd throng to scientific presentations looking for things they could profit from.
I'm not sure how much its done now, but until fairly recently lots of companies got involved in blue sky research. I used to work in research and while the area I was working in was related to things the company hoped to turn into products in the medium term it wasn't tomorrows products. Another company I worked for had an research organisation who were focussed on much further out technologies.