The end – or the beginning?

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?



7 Responses to “The end – or the beginning?”

  1. 1 Zenith January 12, 2007 at 11:17 am

    I give my best wishes to all those that went, it was really wonderful to see this all happen, even if I’m just observing from the internet! I hope some day I will be able to be there as it were, sharing creative ideas and visions!

  2. 2 Phillip Huggan January 12, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    “How can we maximise the chances of taking the ideas developed this week all the way?”

    Take the ideas out for dinner and get them really drunk.

  3. 3 Martin G. Smith January 12, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    It seems to be the end of the week, then the hangover after following Phillip Huggan’s advice and taking the ideas out and getting them very drunk – make mine 25 Year-old Single Malt from that wee distillery in Skye.

    After the recovery and the inevitable machinations on what really happened, where do we go from here? The answer, I suggest is a simple one, reflecting on Jean Luc Piccard – ‘Make it so!!’

  4. 4 David Bott January 12, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Well, I got it wrong. When they costed out the programmes they wanted to achieve, each of the two more practical programmes each asked for all of the money on offer!! No-one can accuse the project teams of lack of ambition. Richard, we mentors and the EPSRC spent a torrid time trying to derive a logical way to split the money actually available. In the end we just had to agree that starting everything was the best option. We (the whole sandpit team) are now in the market for another £1.5m. If anyone has that amount spare, we know a really good way to invest it is ground-breaking and potentially valuable research. I am sure Paul Rouse ( will accept any cheques or bank transfers!!

  5. 5 Martin G. Smith January 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    I will stick out my ‘PanHandling’ hat [A Classic Homberg] on the Highway of Light and see what I come up with.

  6. 6 Martin G. Smith January 17, 2007 at 12:24 am

    NOTE TO ALL – on success with my classic Homberg
    As the result of a proposal put forward at the weekly meeting of the ‘Safeway’ Centre, Gold River, British Columbia. The following unanimous resolution was passed.
    ‘It is resolved therefore to commit 30% of all profits generated by the Safeway Centre in Fiscal Year 2007-08 be committed to A] the advancement on the implementation of the ABOTA Nanotechnology Lab and B] for the purchase of First product generated by the ‘Software Control of Matter’ Ideas Factory.’

    The Safeway Centre [named for its location in a defunct Safeway Grocery Store] is a cooperative venture and the primary money generator for all ABOTA Programs. It encompasses a fully integrated Rapid Prototyping/Manufacturing facility with full Design-to-Implementation capabilities serving a wide area market on the Highway of Light.
    More information will be available directly, any questions may be directed to martin at redseven dot ca

  7. 7 July 1, 2009 at 3:46 am

    North American Business Directories listed in
    media design
    Media Design

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