Just in case it isn’t obvious by now, Purse String Theory has closed. The three of us started the blog as a project during our master’s degree in science journalism. We completed our course in the summer and have all now gone on to other work. I continue to cover science funding as a reporter for Research Fortnight. Thanks to all our readers and supporters!
In case you hadn’t noticed, Purse String Theory is on a break for the time being. Our future is not yet decided.
Lisa, Greg and I started this blog last October as a project for our master’s degree in science journalism at City University. The community interaction has been so tremendous that it was the basis for our being shortlisted for a BBC journalism innovation award.
Crowdfunding is already passé – not over, just old news. I’ve lost track of how many articles I’ve read that cover how scientists are using “innovative” methods to attract funds from among online science fans. Every week seems to bring a new initiative – almost exclusively from the US.
For this post, I’m talking about the sites such as Fundageek, #SciFundChallenge and PetriDish. They allow scientists to create a page for their research, set a funding target and accept money from members of the public.
No doubt these are exciting developments for the handful of scientists who are able to build online communities around their personal brand and research projects. I admire the way these methods are essentially just new forms of science communication wrapped up in a funding plea.
When Professor Tony Barrett pulled a petition out of a coffin on Tuesday, he wanted to start a debate. And boy has he got one.
Twitter, the Guardian, the Telegraph and various blogs have been alive with open discussion about the EPSRC issue and, to a greater degree, the tactics of Barrett’s Science for the Future (SFTF) campaign. My post from Tuesday has been the most visited and commented on in Purse String Theory’s history.
So in this post I intend to synthesise some of the comments of the community in order to move the debate onto how scientists should ‘do’ political action. Pick a point from the list below, and have your way with it in the comments and on Twitter.
All day there’s been a surreal blend of funeral rites and jovial camaraderie in the face of an evil monolith based in Swindon.
There is apparently no limit to the number of faults the protestors can find with how the EPSRC allocates funds – from the “circumvention” of peer review to the allegation that excellence is no longer a funding criterion (both denied by the EPSRC).
Mark Henderson has a solution. Mark, PST friend and former science editor at the Times, calls in his new book for a bipartisan “long-term investment strategy” in science. But is any government ever going to commit to this?