Investing in high value knowledge
In this week’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, this is what he said right at the beginning of his speech:
The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.
This passage was quoted on Wednesday morning by Professor Frank Gannon, Director-General of Science Foundation Ireland, at the announcement by Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Mary Coughlan of five major new research programmes being funded by SFI. It is indeed noteworthy that President Obama has emphasised the role of laboratories and universities in helping to find the way out of the recession. And in fairness to the Irish government, its continued funding of SFI’s research programmes (and other research) even in these uncertain times indicates that this is understood and accepted in Ireland.
It is therefore also important to ensure that the university laboratories are set in a secure environment, in which the academics are encouraged and motivated and the students are supported in their learning. The country as a whole will benefit.
And by way of a postscript, I am happy to say that two of the five research programmes that have been funded are led by DCU.