Science research funding

 

Sir, – We are very surprised at the criticism of recent Government decisions to divert a greater proportion of third-level research funding from pure science to applied science (ie, engineering) as in our view this change was long overdue. At least now the relative proportions are distributed more fairly across both pure science and applied science.

Surely the scientific community accepts that unless research has tangible benefits in modern everyday life then it represents poor value for money. We need to be aware that the Irish economic recovery until now had been largely driven by the exports of both indigenous and foreign direct investment-manufactured products in pharma, IT, biomedical and other engineering products. The processes, of course, were based on both scientific and mathematical theory but the end products of high-market value were produced by manufacturing engineers and scientists. Why else are we reconfiguring our maths syllabus at second level to the more applied Project Maths model other than to better replicate real-life situations, to be more understandable and to be of more immediate practical economic value? We think that the Government and Science Foundation Ireland have finally got it right. – Yours, etc,

P J RUDDEN,

President,

UCD Engineering

Graduates Association,

Belfield, Dublin 4.