terça-feira, abril 05, 2005
Para que é que serve a ciência?
As the major R&D investment by the EU, we can contrast the expected approach of Framework Programme 7 (FP7) with a different research agenda with different priorities, which explicitly aims for a creative, co-operative, healthy, environmentally-sustainable and peaceful society. This briefing outlines such an approach. Questioning the existing structures and priorities becomes more important with the expected doubling of EU research spending from FP6 (€17.5 billions) to nearly €40 billion over 5 years.
There is nothing in "science" that dictates thematic programmes or the priorities of research funders. Science can be steered in various ways to fulfil different functions: broadening our understanding of our world; or providing experts and data for public policy making independent from business / industry lobbies; or commodifying nature and knowledge etc. Those who refuse a proper debate on the goals and conditions of research are, in the current context, allowing the co-option of the research agenda by short-term economic interests. Opening a societal debate, far from restricting the freedom of scientific endeavours, will open new possibilities and options that are not restricted to the immediate search for profit.
We believe that the current proposals for developing FP7 place too much power in the hands of the industry lobby and not enough influence from the wider European public in whose name this money is being spent. Market forces are blind - society needs to define its own priorities and there is no other place to do it other than political institutions: participative, inclusive, deliberative democratic processes for research priority-setting are essential. We believe that a different research agenda is possible - one that has a different vision for society's future.
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