Science is Vital (and “impact”)

The future is not looking great for the funding of UK science. Recent comments by Vince Cable (Business Secretary) imply that cuts might be hard and based on a poor interpretation of the state of UK research, which is actually in pretty good health and very competitive.

Ben Goldacre nicely sums up some of the potential impacts.

So what can we do?

The best option is probably to let our politicians know the potential implications of their decisions and how passionate we are about science by signing the petition started by Science is Vital. They also suggest writing to your local MP (the provide information on how best to do it) and they have organised a rally in London for the 9th October.

The point I really wanted to make, though, was about the word impact. We all seem pretty confident about the impact of funding cuts – the brain drain, long-term impact on the economy, science based industries abandoning the UK etc.

But a few months ago, a lot of the vocal UK science community was expressing concern at having to plan and subsequently demonstrate the impact that our research has. “This can’t be done” was something I heard quite a lot. I hope we didn’t make a rod for our own back. Can our worrying predictions now be taken seriously given that we previously expressed little hope of predicting our impact?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m behind the Science is Vital campaign and understand the importance of science to the country as a whole. I also realise I’m mixing up the outcomes of specific research projects with “science” as a whole. I just thought it would be nice for people to tell me why I’m wrong!

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22 Responses to “Science is Vital (and “impact”)”

  1. draust Says:

    Andy – I think the key point there is that academic science generates both short-term and long-terms returns (or impacts), and that the fruits of research are largely long term and unpredictable. But that doesn’t equate to non-existent.

    Money invested in scientific research generates one major short-term return of economic importance. This is trained people who are in high demand both inside and – more crucially for talking-to-Govt purposes – outside “The Academy”.

    The return on the new knowledge generated through research is much longer term, the more so the further you get away from very applied subjects like engineering. It is being asked to make specific predictions about these returns (as in “Impact Statements”) that people object to. For the biosciences there is actually hard evidence that you can’t predict what the results will lead to – see e.g. this post for a discussion of some of this evidence (a famous study from the 70s) in one area of medicine.

    Agreed, thought, that this is a difficult distinction to convey to politicians and civil servants. At least when they are intent on slashing the budget.

  2. Tom Whyntie Says:

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve thought about this a lot. You’re right, if one isn’t careful the economic argument can be bit of a double-edged sword (one could also look at how scientists are keen to question economic “models” – cf @bengoldacre and the Blackpool equation).

    But with the “Impact” agenda, the way I look at it is like this: carrying out a research project is a bit like rolling a single die in a game you’ve just started playing. You don’t know what the result will be, but you can make an educated guess (your research plan). However, you also aren’t really sure what the rules of the game are, so you don’t even know what that result will mean for yourself or, indeed, the other players.

    “Impact” was about predicting, on top of what individual die rolls would be, how those rolls would affect the whole game. This assumes that it’s possible to know all of the rules – which we don’t, and I’d argue, we can’t (and possibly even shouldn’t!) – something politicians would love to think they could do (or perhaps, that’s what they think scientists can do).

    Cutting the science budget, on the other hand, would not only mean rolling fewer dice, but we’d also lose our best players — which I think one can safely argue would be Bad Things.

  3. Tom Whyntie Says:

    PS: Tip of the hat to @kieronflanagan for the @bengoldacre / Blackpool reference – first pointed it out (at least, the it was the first time I’d seen it!).

  4. Axel Morris Says:

    To quote the famous botanist, Professor David Bellamy, “The Science has simply gone awry.” This is why we are where we are today. Billions of pounds are spent on hokum pseudo-science, whilst genuine meritorious research is starved of funds. He and I are both talking about the bogus and fantastical realm of fraudulent rent-seeking that has become of the “science” of climate change.

    See well over 100 full length feature videos, scientific lectures and documentaries, on climate change and related subjects. There is also some political comment, because it is my belief that climate change is as much a political issue, as it is a scientific one. Indeed there is very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view, but instead upon a premeditated fraudulent prospectus, by factions who would lead us all into a World federal, tyrannical government.

    If you thought that Vince Cable was a problem,
    then learn about Chris Huhne and Greg Barker at the …..
    Fraudulent Climate of Hokum Science.
    See the comment at the index page of that website.
    Do just click my Name Axel Morris in blue above

    What then for the funding of real science?

    The answer can be found in the works of Aldous Huxley, perhaps?
    See his “Brave New World” video, and Orwell’s 1984, and more at the website. Go there and chose Video Index from the Quick Menu Button.
    Click on a page link, Scroll down to the video of your choice & voila.

    • andyrussell Says:

      “Indeed there is very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view…” any chance you could link to some specific “strong evidence” supporting this statement?

      • Axel Morris Says:

        “Indeed there is very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view…” were my words, and that is indeeed my statement.

        The main driving force behind this vilification of CO2 is of course political, and surely you must know that by now. Carbon Di-Oxide gas has been blamed for runaway temperature rise on planet Earth, and that Man’s activities are meant to be the main source. You must know who has promoted that armageddon scenarion. For the avoidance of doubt, I contend that it Al Gore, together with Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Phil Jones et al & etc.

        It isn’t as if this is entirely unknown to you surely ?

        The question remains then, that if the views of “the usual suspects” are not scientific, but political, then who has made scientific views to the contrary? I assume that this is what you are asking.

        I would, in the first instance ask you to view the following video presentations, which are available at the video website which I have indicated. (Not all videos at that website are CO2 related)

        Go to the “Video & Audio Index” at the site linked to my name.
        Find the videos listed below and watch them through.

        “The View from Galileo’s Window – the Sun, the CO2 Monster, and Earth’s Climate.” (video by Solar Physicist, Dr. Willie Soon of Harvard, from August 2009)

        “Dr. Lindzen of MIT at the CEI, Real Facts about Climate Change.” (Dr. Lindzen of MIT, disputes some of the claims made by global warming alarmists)

        “The Cloud Mystery – Henrik Svensmark” (It happened long before man first walked on earth. Long before the industry sprayed CO2 into the atmosphere.)

        Many more examples on these video pages from well known individuals, who have cited views and submitted papers on these subjects. You will find considerable political comment also on those pages, because in fact the vilification of CO2 is really a politically based campaign. It goes back to the published book “The First Global Revolution” – Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider (1993), where this is the relevant quotation, that has led to this enourmous pantomime of hokum and flummery.

        “In searching for a new enemy to unite us we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill.”

        See the special “Zbigniew Brzezinski & Henry Kissinger Page”,
        at the website of The Fraudulent Climate of Hokum Science, for a fuller understanding of why genuine scientists have been shamelessly manipulated in this abhorrent fashion, in order to provide bogus “evidence” to further the aims of The Club of Rome and other barefaced political organisations.

        Please understand that there are hundreds of videos on those pages and not all may at first sight seem relevant to the CO2 discussion, or even may not appear to related to climate at all.
        However as I say, the main driving force behind all this is political. Sustainability, population control, eugenics, these are the buzzwords of the New World Order. They are not good Science, and they are not good for Humanity.

      • andyrussell Says:

        So, what is the specific “very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view”? Which one of these videos will convince me?

        Is any of the evidence is in the peer reviewed literature? That would be nice.

      • Axel Morris Says:

        Andy I mentioned THREE specific videos, please do watch them. Lindzen and Soon in particular have submitted numerous papers to accredited scientific journals. Once you have watched and listened to what is said in those three videos that I specifically selected for You, you will perhaps be in a position to beeter frame your question to me.

        Be assured that I shall endeavour to inform you of what you ask, but you must also play your part in actually watching the videos that I have suggested for you.

      • andyrussell Says:

        Hi Axel

        I’m not sure 3 hours of video is very specific, especially as you’ve not given any indication of what the “very strong evidence” is yet!

        Anyway, I watched the Soon video and still don’t know what you’re referring to. As far as I could tell, his talk covered 4 areas: 14 minutes of irrelevant introduction about Galileo; a relatively interesting bit on temperature and ocean heat content; another irrelevant section, this time on the response of plants and marine life to CO2; and a final section on solar influences.

        I didn’t notice anything that disproved the role of CO2 in the radiative forcing of the climate or that pushing for CO2 reduction was mostly politically motivated. I thought Soon’s representation of climate scientists’ views on the Sun were particularly misleading – only a fool would say that the Sun has no impact on Earth’s climate but, as Soon actually showed, recent changes in the radiative forcing are dominated by GHG changes.

        My other problem with the talk was the cherry picking of data to show what he wanted. Namely, why only show surface temperature vs. CO2 for 1995-2009? Why only show 4 years of ocean data (from an unpublished source)? And why concentrate on the Arctic for his solar analysis? I also couldn’t find the source of Soon’s solar irradiance data, which concerned me a bit.

        However, I’d never really looked into Soon before and that was interesting – I’d only really heard of him for the controversial Climate Research paper from 2003. I had a quick look at John Mashey’s report into the campaign against climate science and noticed that Soon has his fingers in a few pies! He has links with the American Petroleum Institute, the George C Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute and Exxon-Mobil to name a few. I suspect that if we’re looking for non-scientific motivation then Soon might be an interesting case to examine.

      • Axel Morris Says:

        And the Lindzen video ?

        And the Svensmark Video ?

        You should see those as well. Still I will make some brief comment about the Soon video. It is almost as if you saw a different video from the one that I saw, and in fact this is what happened. What you see in such a video is coloured by all of your previous experience, on what is important and what isn’t.

        So the Title of the talk was …
        “The View from Galileo’s Window – the Sun, the CO2 Monster, and Earth’s Climate.”, and this should give you an idea as to why Galileo featured so strongly. This was an attempt to, as it were, roll back the clock inthe mind’s eye, and see the “CO2 & climate change problem” from the viewpoint of Galileo.

        Whether this was entirely successful or not is indeed moot.

        The oil company funding argument is old & tired and is a red herring as you well know, naughty Andy. 😉

        I am not saying that 3 hours of video is “very specific”, just that it is a starting point, which when you have done so, will enable you to better frame your questions to me. Still it is worth continuing and to view the other two. All three videos though they are coming from different directions have a certain synergism. Please do continue and then let me have your initial reactions to the other two videos, one at a time if that is how you wish to proceed. Then we can go on to address the three videos as a whole, in the round. Each video plays its part.

        I am anxious to make comments on the other points you raise, but some are addressed in those other videos. You may need to watch them through again, but this will in the end not be a critique on these 3 videos. It will not be resolved by semantics.

        Do try to watch without prejudice. As you will surely understand, with so many papers written on these subjects, unless one wants to give a 27 hour long lecture, one has to “cherry pick” in a sense, because we cannot use the entire tree, or even the forest in a one hour presentation. You have cherry picked in starting this blog, and I have cherry picked in deciding to write these remarks. We are indeed all cherry pickers of one sort or another. 8)

        So then please let me have your initial response to the Lindzen Video in due course. I am happy to continue with this discussion and analysis.

        🙂

      • andyrussell Says:

        I’m still confused about what the “very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view” is. I thought you said that the Soon video contained some of this evidence. I didn’t see any. You haven’t told me what you think I missed. Will this be the same for the other two videos?

        I think cherry picking was a valid criticism – he says solar irradiance variation drives the climate system on its own and evidences this with some data from the Arctic. That’s not good enough.

        I also think that its perfectly fair to raise the conflicts of interest/non-scientific agendas as this was your criticism of “the usual suspects”, as you put it.

      • Axel Morris Says:

        Don’t get “hung up” on one particular phrase. Indeed the Soon video does contain such evidence, as does the Lindezen & Svensmark videos, but if you are looking for someone in one of those videos to turn to the camera, and then actually state that …

        “Indeed there is very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view…”

        That doesn’t happen. Those were my words, and that is indeeed my statement, as I explained to you already on October 18, 2010 at 9:28 am [comment above].

        I find it odd that all those videos are available for you to see, and then you want to ask me what is the content, and exactly where you will see the evidence in the video, and want to disect them without actually viewing them first.

        I mean would You conduct research in this fashion, by asking questions about evidence that you had not even seen, by starting out with preconceived notions and then asking others whether it will be worthwhile looking at the evidence and then accusing others of not informing you when you had not looked at the evidence that they offered?

        Granted this is perhaps not the type of presentation that you are used to seeing perhaps, but it is worth bearing in mind that this is the way in which perhaps 95% of the worlds’ informed population get their information. ie. from TV programs.

        You want to see scientific papers from learned journals, and indeed I can point you to such papers, when you can better frame your questions to me. You are like the most awkward student that I have ever attempted to assist. You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make it drink, perhaps?

        If you really want to undrstand, then again I must ask that you watch all three videos, and I would watch the Soon Video again, because you have obviously missed some salient points, in his presentation. Bear in mind that his presentation, is not aimed at PhD students, and is pitched at a level which scientists from other fields, and indeed intelligent high school students can understand. Such audiences would indeed be bored by a presenatation such as you perhaps are more used to seeing,
        with many more staid scientific peer reviewed journal citations.

        Yet there were many such references in Soon’s video. Look at the wording on the charts and captions, where he names the authors in many cases, and pay careful attention to what he says, because he is not a “native speaker” of English, and he quite often gets the idiom wrong. This should not detract from the substance of what he says. He has many published papers.

        I shall recommend another video that may be more like what you expected perhaps, but do see the Soon, Lindzen & Svensmark videos first. I do recommend that you see them in that order, because as one idea leads on to the next, indeeed so does that choice of videos. I find that you are already asking questions that may well be answered by Lindzen in his lecture, and no doubt you will be asking questions about that video which will be answered by Svensmark.

        Still I am happy to continue with this discourse, but I cannot give you a synopsis of every point in every video, because it would be quicker and easier for you to just watch the actual videos. Am I being unreasonable in asking that?

      • andyrussell Says:

        I think its time we recap what happened here:

        You made a wild claim and said that there was strong evidence for it.
        I asked what the evidence was.
        You suggested some videos.
        I watched one of them, could not find any evidence and asked what excactly I’m looking for.
        You say I have to watch all the videos.

        I think that the burden of proof here is on your side!

      • Axel Morris Says:

        OK so your question is a fishing one?

        Even you cannot expect me to fill up the next twenty pages of your column here with ALL such evidence, laid out in tabular form or some such, with cross references to thousands of scientific papers, and etc.?

        [Any evidence would do! – Andy]

        I made a “wild claim” ?

        There is indeed evidence in those videos that CO2 should not be vilified, because in fact it is responsible for all life on Earth. CO2 is not a dangerous pollutant as the US EPA has now declared, and that is a vilification that there is no scientific evidence for. Soon said that he though that this notion by the EPA was very strange, the EPA has cited no scientific papers to support its assertion, but yet legislated anyway. Now then you missed that. Soon doesn’t put it in exactly that fashion, but again I must point out to you, that you must listen carefully to what he says.

        [I didn’t miss it, I said it was irrelevant, by which I meant it was irrelevant to your point. It is irrelevant because the fact that plants use CO2 to grow does not mean that it has no effect on climate. That’s like saying that because we drink water to live, you can’t drown in it. – Andy]

        What you should be looking for in those THREE videos are statements and evidence that CO2 has been vilified and for political purposes, which is what I said. There are many other instances in other videos, but to make it easy for you, I specifically chose three videos wher I knew that such references existed, either overtly, or as a strong assertion but based upon what is shown in the research of others displayed and referenced.

        Furthermore should CO2 not actually be a problem for the environment, and have little or no direct relationship with mean global temperatures, as would seem to be the case when looking, for instance at some of Soon’s charts, taken from the work of Craig Idso & Robert Balling et al, then CO2 will have been unfairly vilified and if not based on any scientific view, but instead upon a premeditated fraudulent prospectus, then that would amount to criminal fraud.

        Science has been manipulated for political purposes since time began, and today is no different. The question is whether you are happy to be treated like a mushroom, by the politicians and those with vested interests, or whether you are genuinely interested in finding the truth, and preventing the debasement of science in the United Kingdom ?

        I should like to ask for a second, or even third opinion, from any “lukers” that may be watching this discourse. I think that I have provided reasonable evidence of my assertion, but Andy refuses to look at it. Am I being unreasonable? What would you say with regard to this thread?

  5. F. Alvarez Says:

    To preface, I haven’t watched the videos and I don’t have anything at stake here in this argument…

    I don’t think it’s his refusing to watch the videos, rather it’s your unwillingness (inability?) to answer his question with specifics from those videos. I mean, if it is clearly in the videos, you should be able to cite the references for any figures or studies they cite in the videos, no?

    Let’s say I’m giving a talk at a scientific conference/defending a thesis/etc. At the end of the presentation/defense, someone in the audience questions a claim I made as a conclusion from my research. If I were to say “oh, it’s in my presentation” and leave it at that, or say “it’s in the literature,” then that would be a p. clear indicator that I am extremely ill prepared and I am unfamiliar with the material (Both others (background material) as well as my own (research)). That would be extremely lazy science.

    In other words, you might as well have said “Oh, google it, it’s on the internet, trust me!”

    • Axel Morris Says:

      Ok I see where you are coming from. Please allow me to summarise.

      At the start of this thread Andy had remarked. “The future is not looking great for the funding of UK science.” In my original remarks I offered my opinion that this was due to, “Billions of pounds are spent on hokum pseudo-science, whilst genuine meritorious research is starved of funds.” later on I went on to remark that “Indeed there is very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view”.

      I was talking specifically about the vilification of CO2 in that last remark, and Andy then asked for “link to some specific “strong evidence” “. So then I posted a list of three specific videos which I contend contain such strong evidence that “CO2 is being vilified” and that this vilification is not based on any scientific view.

      I did however take time to review again those three videos myself, and I am certain that there several statements which show that there is very strong evidence of what I have claimed. However I think that it is all too easy to hung up on just one statement here. There are many facets to this CO2 vilification, and it isn’t just a question of me pointing to the “Polital Vilification of CO2, and not based on any scientific view, by A.N. Other et al, Geo. Res. Let. Vxxx Pxxx” Indeed there is no such paper.

      My statement is just that, it is my statement based on what I have seen in those three videos and many others, as well as numerous articles and live lectures, radio programs, books, papers and other materials elsewhere. I feel that it is unreasonable of Andy to keep hapring on that rigid point when I have already explained this to him.

      I had not noticed that Andy had not replied the last time, rather he added comments in squared parenthesis to my previous posting.
      So then let’s deal with these here.

      [Any evidence would do! – Andy]
      You want some other evidence rather that those videos which you admit you never watched. So then I could have picked fro literally thousands of similar write-ups about the Vilification of CO2, and before you ask yet again. No there isn;t a “peer reviewed paper” that repeats verbatim what I had stated ie. “Indeed there is very strong evidence that the main driving force behind the vilification of CO2 gas is not based on any scientific view”
      Continued Villification of CO2, and Mandated Purchasing of Carbon Credits
      http://plantseatco2.blogspot.com/

      [I didn’t miss it, I said it was irrelevant, by which I meant it was irrelevant to your point…. It is irrelevant because the fact that plants use CO2 to grow does not mean that it has no effect on climate…]
      Why did you remark on the first part of my statement, and not mention the second part wich included the very wording, albeit in a different phrasing, of my original assertion that you asked for evidence to support?

      ie. “CO2 is not a dangerous pollutant as the US EPA has now declared, and that is a vilification that there is no scientific evidence for. Soon said that he though that this notion by the EPA was very strange, the EPA has cited no scientific papers to support its assertion, but yet legislated anyway. Now then you missed that.”

      In fact even without the viewing of any videos at all you must be aware that this is the case, that originally Mrs Thatcher used CO2 as a political tool to promote the acceptance of Nuclear power stations. CO2 was unfairley vilified, and it later turned out that it was Sir Crispin Tickell who was mooted to be behind that shenanigan.

      Then when Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider, wrote their seminal work, “The First Global Revolution”, on behalf of the Club of Rome, it became clear how this initial vilification could be developed. Perhaps the most telling quote from that book is as follows …..

      “In searching for a new enemy to unite us we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill.” …. hmmm

      Anyway I made a remark which I thought was self evident, I fondly imagined that people, including Andy might watch a few videos of their own accord, without any further prompting from me. I had not realised that I would have to run a course of instruction on how to distill and deduce facts from a video presentation, and to take notes and look up references of studies at Wiley’s or wherever.

      8)

      • andyrussell Says:

        I think the problem we’re having here is that I’m focusing on the “…not based on any scientific view…” part of what you said. I disagree with that and didn’t see any evidence within the video I watched that refuted the scientific view on GHGs and climate change. You seem more interested in the political angle. That’s not really my area. I’m sure that there are political reasons for acting on climate change, as well as scientific ones, but that does not change the scientific evidence.

    • Axel Morris Says:

      Agreed, You may well be right in that we two are looking at the same issue, but from different viewpoints as you remark. I am however interested in both approaches, it is just that I fear that the political message has now overwhelmed the scientific raison d’etre in the case of this particular sub-science, to the extent that it now overshadows the work of almost every scientist in every field of research and endeavour.

      So leaving aside the specific micro-point that we have been arguing, it is evident that there is financial pressure for funding in very diverse arenas, but that one sub-science is now grabbing the lions share of all the funding. This is not right. Scientists must now add a political message to their applications for grants, if they are to compete. One must now ask for a grant to, “study the life cycle of the common crested newt, with regard to dissolved CO2 in rural streams in Oxfordshire”, for instance.
      CO2 may have nothing to do with the study actually, but one has to go through that mummery anyway, or risk not getting funding.

      OK so that was just an example, and please don’t cite that back at me 😉
      There is no such study (so far as I am aware), it was just a postulation.

      So then I believe that the CO2 / Climate Change argument has many facets, both scientific and political, but as to how this directly affects your concerns about funding (now that it has been announced today by the PM, that there will in fact be a freeze on science funding, and that CO2 CCS projects are to be funded to the tune of at least 4 Billion Pounds !), well you can see that 4 Billion Pounds is a lot of moneys, and that maybe such a use of funds is politically driven rather than scientifically driven,
      given that the case for such CCS schemes is rather tenuous.

      In hypothesis 1:
      CCS Schemes are unnecessary, because CO2 isn’t any problem.

      In Hypothesis 2:
      CCS Schemes are unnecessary, because they do not work. That is to say there are serious and insurmountable difficulties at every stage of the process. Not enough CO2 can be captured to be of any significance to the overall atmosphere. The capture process uses toxic, persistant, chemistry. Chemicals escape into the environment locally. Captured CO2 is expensive to transport, and is difficult to store. Proposed storage methods are unreliable and even dangerous. There is no evidence that doing this will effect any change in the climate.

      So then we are to spend around 4 or 5 times the entire annual budget of the whole of Manchester University and its entire research funding, on this fantasy of Carbon Capture and Storage at just four sites in the UK.
      That is only one project, but Independent MEP, Rodger Helmer estimated recently that there might be as much as 20 Billion Pounds of spending on pseudo-green projects like these. So this affects all of the other sciences.

      I know you like to read some reference, so I draw your attention to this report about CCS.

      Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
      Volume 70, Issues 1-2, January 2010, Pages 123-130
      Sequestering carbon dioxide in a closed underground volume
      Christine Ehlig-Economidesa, and Michael J. Economidesb,
      Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA
      Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204, USA
      available from Wiley, Elsevier, & etc… or specially for you Andy a PDF 😉
      http://twodoctors.org/manual/economides.pdf

      So then is it worth it, to spend 4 Billion for such a pig-in-a-poke?

      I bet that all the other University Teaching & Research Departments and Schools, who are not involved in these carbon flummery pantomimes, in the UK would say NO!

      • andyrussell Says:

        The only thing I’m going to say here is that I doubt many (if any) research proposals get funded because of a spurious link to climate change. I don’t know what you do so maybe you’ve written some yourself but my experience is that successful proposals need to be focused on a specific point with achievable but significant goals. A quick ramble that its related to climate change wont get you funded. If anything it’ll annoy the reviewers and you’ll get thrown straight on the reject pile (as happens to more than 80% of proposals anyway). The proportion of funds that go to the different research councils does determine the overall proportion of what fields successful projects are in but this is a strategic decision taken above the level of nearly all reviewers of the proposals. Maybe it would be an interesting project to get all the summaries of successful projects from NERC and play climate change buzzword bingo.

      • Axel Morris Says:

        Mountain marmots made bigger by climate change, says new study. … [chuckle]
        http://www.nerc.ac.uk/press/releases/2010/30-marmots.asp

        Oh No !!! for G_ds sake, sorry Andy 😉
        “Kerry Murton from Cardiff University’s Llysdinam Field Centre has been investigating the affect of climate change on the timing of events in the lifecycle of newts.”
        http://www.nerc.ac.uk/press/releases/2007/32-badc.asp

        Many more examples of this. A search at NERC uncovered about 2000 results over about the past 5-10 years. Then at the EPSRC there was over 500 results including this chestnut !

        Climate change and the greening of masonry: implications for built heritage and new build.
        “There is increasingly compelling evidence that stone decay environments vary significantly across the British Isles, and that these climatic and pollution regimes are themselves changing as, for example, climate itself changes… & etc.”

        The official policy of the EPSRC is summarised as follows:
        “EPSRC will contribute to the ‘Living with environmental change’ theme by working with the other research councils and partners in at least nine government departments to develop and support high-quality research programmes which will tackle environmental change and the societal challenges it poses.”

        Sadly this is a familiar story elsewhere in the other “RC”s and in the Independent Institutes & Foundations. They have been suborned, so to speak by the climate alarmist factions, and for mostly political reasons. [sigh]

      • andyrussell Says:

        These are press releases; they’ll be spun in a way that they the media will pick up on. I doubt the proposal that funded those projects (assuming there was one, the only thing I got some press coverage for was something I did in my own time for a science festival) was so daft sounding. If you look here you then you can search who got what money to do what. I couldn’t find anything for “newt and climate” I’m afraid!

      • Axel Morris Says:

        The only thing that turned up was this odd “newt” reference.
        Newt Climate Bill Huge Mistake….. http://tinyurl.com/376dvzb

        Yes OK I couldn’t resist that.
        Still I think enough has been said….
        Unless anyone else out there wants to add anything,

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