Have a say in science? 1

December 19, 2003

Lord Winston may have gone too far in his suggestion that science cede control to the public, but some responses to him simply proved his point ("Critics lambast Winston's idea", THES , December 12). Lewis Wolpert considers it "ridiculous" that the public should have a say in whether stem cells can be used for research.

But for those who attach some form of sanctity to those cells, Wolpert's views will seem nothing less than totalitarian.

The point is not that minority religious groups should dictate the scientific agenda, but surely that the public has a say in what constitutes an appropriate object of research and in which areas the money should be spent. Funding frequently follows topics that an elite minority believes "sexy", without considering whether the public shares the same priorities.

A few more council-estate tenants on the research councils might be an appropriate first response to redress this situation.

Justin Thacker
Hemel Hempstead

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns