Sunday, September 27, 2009

foundational computer science research "at risk"

we had a visit from the EPSRC's ICT team last week - for those people who don't know, ICT is Information and Communications Technology, wherein CS (including theory and systems and HCI and all the rest) is lumped alongside radio and optical and other low level engineering things, and is a term favoured by eurocrats who don't see why silos are bad, and incorrectly labelled silos are even worse.

Anyhow during the conversation between computer lab academics and EPSRC it was fairly clear that they didn't think it was important that the top ranked computer science department in the UK (and equal top ranked deparment in cambridge, the top ranked university in europe) currently had no EPSRC (i.e. UK government basic research) funding for its theory faculty.

Someone in the EPSRC is either asleep at the wheel, or else they have become slaves to the blairite mantras of industrial relevance. what they don't seem to get is that if the EPSRC only funds short term "industrial relevant" work, why would we need the EPSRC? we could go to the EU.

What is depressing about their taking the moral low-ground like this is that we wil lstart to go to the European Research Council (ERC) to get money first (i.e. the better places will try that) and this wil lstart a vicious cycle of driving EPSRC funded projects ever more short term, making my projection ever more likely...

the rot must be stopped...

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