Over the last few days, we have had the opportunity to hear Minister Sherlock’s interview on Science Calling (before the audio files were subsequently removed). In a petty tone, Sherlock delivered condescending answers to interviewer, Maria Delaney, as he dismissed the complaints of the research community. According to the interview, Sherlock is convinced that those concerned citizens speaking out about Irish science funding policy have not done their homework. I hope that LoveIrishScience blog posts (1, 2) demonstrate that we have actually read the literature.
He went on to compare researchers to children and accuse them of spreading lies about government science policy.
In reference to the Chief Science Advisor (CSA) office being abolished, Sherlock called this a non-issue and asked Delaney what the role of the office actually is. She replied that the CSA advises the government on science policy. Sherlock said that this is false, but as he spoke, the official CSA website stated:
“The Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser was established in 2004 to provide the Government with independent, expert advice on issues related to public science policy.”
Interestingly, the website was subsequently updated, coincidentally right after the interview. All of the information about the role of the CSA was removed from the home page. My guess is that the government does not actually know what the role of the CSA is supposed to be. Here is the google-cached link so you can compare the two versions of the website.
I guess while they are at it, they should update their Dept. of Jobs website that states, “In addition, the Chief Science Advisor provides independent advice to Government on any aspect of Science, Technology and Innovation.”- since, the CSA is no longer independent, and provides advice on every aspect of STI, except policy, apparently.
Incase they edit the website before you get a chance to read it, here is the google-cache link.
If you do not like the way that Irish science policy is going, please sign our petition to Minister Sherlock that addresses many of the topics discussed in the interview.
-Paul A. Higgins