So, as Richard says, we have come to a decision on which projects go forward. We are now sworn to silence until the projects are announced. Meanwhile, the projects will now huddle to refine their resource requirements – which will magically come to use the money on offer – not a penny more, not a penny less. The projects are compelling in their vision, increasingly rigorous in their planning, but seem to me to be worryingly pragmatic in their requests!
As the resident industrialist I have had an interesting series of discussions during the week about the philosophies of research. From my point of view, the projects that have evolved have both “challenge” and “practicality”. I have seen them benefit enormously in their development from the “grounding” process, when the teams tried to see what they would make and how they would do it. The projects that are going forward will undoubtedly achieve great science. They have the potential t achieve great technology. What concerns me is what will happen next. If we get to the end of this work with a series of papers, some covers of prestigious journals, a high hit post on YouTube, then we will have done well – but wasted a significant fraction of what we have seen here this week. The EPSRC could do well to start planning what they will do next. How will they fulfil the next stage of the overall plan that has been hinted at several times this week as necessary? How could they work with the NIA, the evolving MNT Knowledge Transfer Network and so on. How can we maximise the chances of taking the ideas developed this week all the way?