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Archive for December, 2011

Dear Kat,

Here are the links to the comments I’ve made this week.


Should the taxpayer support basic research or should the research funding emphasis be placed on applied research in which the beneficiaries are clear?

This is a type of question that the answer depends on the person. It is therefore very difficult to say either yes, or no without getting any objections. The funds for research not just psychological must be provided- no doubt about it. How would scientists otherwise come up with new drugs? Of course a lot of people may say something like: “Okay, I agree for some percentage of my tax money to be spent on e.g. breast cancer research but not anything else”. I’m afraid nobody gets any choice over what their tax will be spent on. If someone wishes to support breast cancer research they can do so, by donating extra money. Some will say:”Yeah but studying breast cancer is an advanced research, but should taxpayers still fund the basic research?”My answer is yes. Before scientists become scientists, they need to be trained, and the best way to get experienced is to practice (with the basic research).
Everyone pays tax. People get taxes taken off their salaries, they pay council taxes, VAT when buying all sort of items in the shops and also taxes on cigarettes, alcohol or petrol etc. All the money is collected by the government and then spent on all sort of things such as health, education, transport, crime prevention, housing, army, etc. Research, even basic is one of those things.
The statement says, should the taxpayers support the basic research, but they do not have the choice really. At the end of the day this is to help the society. Even the basic (as well as the advanced) research might have some impact on e.g. the psychology field, and be very beneficial. If the research is funded aiming to help all the taxpayers then why would people protest? Yes, of course it is their money, but the funds must come from somewhere. Even if taxpayers were to protest and the research would no longer be funded from the tax, where would the money come from? Or would there be no research carried out? No cancer cure in future, no help in case of pestilence, no drugs to treat new illnesses.
Just before I get criticized for saying that all research should be funded I need to justify that the research carried on by private companies such as cigarettes or alcohol companies, should be funded by the owners of the companies, not the taxpayers. This is both because these products generate huge income, and since they are privately owned why would people agree for them to use the public money to fund their research?
I believe that people should not complain about their tax money being spent on research because the aim of research is to make people’s lives easier. To give the doctors a chance to help their patients etc. As long as the tax money is not spent on things like Halloween candy, but something as important as research people shouldn’t protest.

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