Some particle physics stuff

The Iter facility that hopes to upscale present nuclear fusion technology in such a way as to make it feasible for commercial applications has received a boost to its funding. It looked at one point, with countries not dedicating the required money to cover increased building costs, like the thing would have to fold or work at a reduced capacity. Now it has been ruled that the additional requirements can be taken from central EU fund reserves until a more permanent solution can be found.

Engineers in the Royal Academy of Engineering have attempted to present themselves as the primary form of wealth creation in the physical sciences in an attempt to win greater funding, or at least greater protection from cuts in the coming years. The document, which reviews the present methods of allocation of funding, seems to be based on the widely derided ‘Impact’ criterion of deciding on whether or not to do research based on an economic assessment of its outcomes (plainly ill suited to blue sky research, but helpful to the critics of blue sky research like those competing with it for funds). A report on the submission, which will be followed by submissions from other professional bodies involved in research, by Nature is here. Responses from the world of particle physics have been swift including this, which, in a postscript, notes that the CEO of the RAEng is on the council of the STFC, which is the research council in charge of allocating funds to particle physics and is, oddly enough, dedicated by charter to blue skies research. It also happens to be about as palatable to scientists in general as the Impact criterion.


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