It needed to be said

August 12, 2010

In THE's Letters pages (29 July), James J. Browne and Stefan Decker of the National University of Ireland attack me for criticising the European Commission's research funding programme ("Brussels cash comes at a terrible price", 1 July). They accuse me of unsubstantiated assertions, adding that their experience of the programme has been uniformly positive.

I am glad to know of their positive experiences - I have had many myself - but I doubt their experience is as extensive as mine, and I don't believe they read my article in detail. If they had, they would have seen my analysis of the role and responsibilities of project officers, and the quotations I used from those who know a great deal about the Commission's programmes, including writers of official reports on their efficiency.

My "anecdotes" do not contain names, nor could they, but resonated with many contributors to THE's website, including the Commission's erstwhile senior auditor. The former head of a UK research council wrote to me saying how glad he was that someone had stuck his neck out and said what I said.

Yorick Wilks, Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition.

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