Planning Meeting Minutes – 2012-10-23

These are the minutes of the planning meeting on 2012-10-23 based on this Agenda.

The overall outcome of the meeting is that there are a lot of anti-fundamental-research points laid out in the prioritisation document. The current Irish research budget reflects this. At the next meeting we will define the hard numbers of how much fundamental research is funded, and put together a talk outline for our upcoming presentations.


-We want head (chair) of IRC to be a scientist, not an industry person… Keep IRC focused on fundamental research.

-Get IRC to develop a scheme for 2nd level postdocs- >32k- should increase with inflation.
-there is no career prospects for soft money researchers in ireland.

-we are giving a talk at ASGI, nov 9th

-Giving a talk at TOG, nov 15th

Documents Discussion

Ireland budget (2011) – Aidan

2.4B in STI – govt funding (total is 7% less than 2010)
what % of total budget? 60B?
2002-2009 rises, then drops.
-Pie chart of spending in STI (education and training dropped by 17% )
–Education and training includes what funding bodies??
STI: 1.3-2% rise over last 5 yrs, -.12% drop (2010-2011)
GNP = 126B

Table of break down of R&D
HEA gets 309M (1/3 of R&D)
SFI gets…
IRC gets…
IDA, gets…

GBoard – measure of govt fundiing as % of GNP
-needs to be corrected to be more honest

Break down of research excluding HEA

GOVERD – govt expendeture on R&D excluding HEA….
-ireland is at the bottom….

applied~97% (includes agriculture etc, so not science)

Eoin – budget cont’d

8.9B -> Public Services
—-1.29B -> given to universities

50M taken from HEA, givesn to dept. of jobs (PRTLI)
HEA is driven to fund basic science/ academia. Why given to jobs??

The only basic science funding not in universities is the ~4M DIAS gets (??? is that correct?)
DIAS gets 3% of science budget, 3% of science funding is basic. Is that the same 3%??

IRC gets 23M (how much is basic/applied)

SFI is under dept of jobs. Given money for basic research? Why under jobs?

14M to ESA under Dept of jobs
How much should we be able to / have spent in Ireland of that money? ie. how much of 14M comes back into ireland?

Forfas: >2M -> 20% goes to chief science advisor. That is a lot of money just to chair a committee…

150M goes to SFI, 30 programs…
SFI 2 programs are basic science
-research frontiers
-math funding
This is completely changed now. (SFI no longer funds basic science even though it was set up to do so)

Neal – forfas research prioritisation

-focus on economic return
-focus on areas where ireland can compete internationally (economically)
-14 priority areas
-SFI now legally has to follow NRPE

-how they prioritise
-need impact w/in 5 years
-research for knowledge should occur, not mentioned in rest of document…
-acknowledge ecosystem of basic->applied
-acknowledge we should pay into large EU projects (cern, lofar)
->SFI is no longer going to fund basic science

Paul – Research prioritisation document cont’d

-accelerate impact of priority areas
-govt to restate the STI priorities
-development of metrics to judge how well things are doing, yearly assessments of research output

Points of interest
-Not just focus on publishing, need to incorporate plans to commercialise research -> how is math supposed to do that?
-Funding applications need to demonstrate adherance to 14 areas
-do cost benefit analysis on schemes -> fundamental research doesn’t work like that!
-Want to reduce over heads for writing grant applications – fund people instead of projects -> projects can fund many people, so wouldn’t funding projects decrease the amount of grant writing??
-research centers to develop industry culture and industry oriented mission -> frightening!
-Note that academic staff should be allowed to progress -> at the moment soft money academic staff have to leave their institution to progress! This is something that needs to be addressed.
-Taking money out of PHD funding and given to developing “industry phd programs” and industry driven masters.
Scary quote:
“PhD and early stage post-doctoral researchers should be able to contribute directly to enterprise creation and job creation through the comercialisation of their research” – How is math supposed to do that??

Description of the 14 areas -> no fundamental science in there!
-Anywhere there is science mentioned, it is to be combined with industry in the key action items

How areas are chosen
-competitiveness of ireland in market area
-how area can complement private sector
-reaction to a national or global challenge that ireland can respond to (that seems reasonable)

Members of the steering group committee
-mostly from industry (intel?, citi bank?!)
3 thematic working groups, none of which are knowledge-based research focused!

Diana – SFI operational plan 2013

60-80% of funding each year goes to funding previous years projects
-> decide to follow NRPE

Action Items

-(diana) look into HTML 5 for website

White Board – Planning meeting.

Agenda for next time:
-Go through making talk for ASGI
-define our goals
–describe current state of irish science funding (fundamental / applied)
-put together an info-graphic
–display the numbers

-put together a petition to government – define our argument and our demands
-publish infographic and talk as a blog post


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