Last week involved a busy day at BIS presenting, with our Chair Professor Sir Tom Blundell, to the Triennial Review team, followed by two meetings chaired by David Willetts on Open Access (where there are some interesting developments in the US) and on aspects of the Agri-Tech strategy.
I then travelled to Boston, to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where I was presented with their Fellowship. This was a huge meeting, but a session I especially enjoyed was one on Visualising Science (including Dennis Meredith, Erik Olsen and Yael Fitzpatrick). William Press gave an excellent Presidential lecture, citing (as I have done) the work of Robert Solow in illustrating the ~30% return that investment in civil science and technology brings. Press also mentioned the work of Kenneth Arrow and Zvi Griliches, the fact that positive feedback (education breeds innovation breeds education…) is necessary to account for exponential increases in per capita incomes, and reciprocal shifts in the percentage of resource going on more fundamental and more applied research from public and private sources, respectively. All entirely applicable to the UK. [...]