Ireland should fund best research

Article metrics

The Irish government aims to develop our 'smart economy' by prioritizing funding for research that will lead to “innovation” (Nature 467, 895; 2010). This will be achieved through another committee, the fourth in as many years (see

The composition of this committee suggests that the choice of areas to be funded will probably be driven by commercial demands. That is unlikely to create new jobs, as the government claims.

Ireland should instead concentrate funding on research — any research — that is of consistently high quality (based on non-exchequer funding and prestigious publications) and dump the rest. Such a move would also attract high-quality researchers into the country.

More important than any ill-defined concept of innovation, it is crucial that high-calibre but inexperienced researchers get to work on problems with commercial potential, supported by consultants and professionals from industry. Top-class researchers need to be socialized, which is next to impossible in an academic setting.

The cuts to science in Ireland, combined with the government's handling of the remainder, risk turning the clock back 30 years.

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dyke, G. Ireland should fund best research. Nature 468, 173 (2010) doi:10.1038/468173d

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.