The belief that science is “a driver of growth in the knowledge economy” has led in recent decades to increasing encouragement by government of the involvement of industry and of commerce in the sponsorship and direction of research in universities, and to the increasing influence of industrial representatives on advisory panels associated with the publicly funded scientific research councils, Science and Engineering Ethics. By extending the doctrine of commercial confidentiality into university laboratories, inconvenient findings have been suppressed, and both free endeavour and free speech undermined. This has narrowed our scientific horizons and compromised government advisors.
It is argued that scientific freedom is a guarantor of our wider liberties. Science, which tells us who we are and how we can live better, is being distorted so twisting our understanding of the ways in which we might progress, shutting off alternatives to existing models of development. Business now stands as a guard dog at the gates of perception. Only the inquiries which suit its needs are allowed to pass, Science and Engineering Ethics.
Science, the government insists, is “a driver of growth in the knowledge economy”.1 I don’t think many people would dispute this. Much of our recent economic growth is the result of high-tech industry, emerging from scientific innovation and discovery.
The conclusions the government draws from this are rather more contestable. If science is to continue to drive growth, it reasons, then the funding of science must be tailored to the needs of business. This may, in the short term, be true. But it is surely obvious that this approach leads to the narrowing of scientific horizons, as researchers pursue precise technological outcomes, rather than spending decades on the speculative. Get Best Assignment Writing Service with Contentmart
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