JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Royal Society that serves The Government does not serve The People

Paul Homewood follows the money to find Royal Society funding.

(Figures are rounded)

Even if we acknowledge that most of the money goes straight to research, there is a slab of money that goes straight to the Society:

So government funding (Parliamentary Grant in Aid) amounts to 67% of total income. Similar amounts have been fixed for a 5 year period to allow the Society to plan ahead properly. It is also worth noting the income generated from commercial activities, such as investment income and publications.

Government money is channelled through the Dept of Business, who insist that it is allocated to specific projects and programmes. Most of this is therefore paid out by the Royal Society in the form of research grants etc. However in 2010/11 £2,265,000 was allocated to “Support and Central Expenses”, in other words overheads costs.

Homewood goes on to list the surprisingly high salaries on the gravy train. Since 2005, the number of employees earning more than  £60000 pa has jumped from three to 10. If some of the salaries depend on the river of climate money, then that’s a fairly strong incentive to search for a crisis.

But even the money that goes to the researchers can influence the Society. Who wouldn’t want to be The One deciding which projects get funded and which do not? Who would not want to be wined and dined, or at the very least, treated with warm handshakes and beaming smiles? Those holding the purse strings become somewhat immune from public criticism — at least from any scientists who fancy their chances at being given a grant. There is a status and exulted nature about being the gate-keeper, not least, because you can also direct the money stream to projects that will foster, perpetuate,  and escalate that money flow…

I’m not saying anyone is behaving badly “because of the “funding”. But that the Royal Society is clearly not “independent”. Where is that last true science association funded only by members, with issues decided by a vote from most members?

Andrew Montford has done the thorough study of just how bad things have got.

H/t: Thanks Fred Singer

9.1 out of 10 based on 41 ratings

44 comments to The Royal Society that serves The Government does not serve The People

  • #
    John from CA

    Isn’t the Royal Society similar to the Royal Navy in the sense that its mandated?

    However, it doesn’t excuse its recent political bent.

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  • #
    Anton

    Bob May is an Aussie and was a prof at Sydney Uni early in his career.

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    Rereke Whakaaro

    I don’t know if this applies in Australia, but in Britain, Members of the Royal Society are usually the first people approached for a “professional opinion” at Ministerial level.

    Members of the Society are invited to sit on lots of Government advisory committees (for which they get an honorarium).

    Their opinions carry a lot of weight, primarily because nobody else on the committee has enough specialised knowledge to seriously question them. This gives them a disproportionate degree of power in matters of policy, and therefore in the ultimate allocation of funding.

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  • #
    Jon at WA

    Two members I spoke to, would not discuss Anthropogenic warming.

    A Royal Society with an addiction for salary increases and a burgeoning administration appears to be a comfortable home for rent-seekers.

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  • #
    pattoh

    RW

    That is a good model for a short “positive” feedback loop.

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  • #

    To quote from President Eisenhower’s farewell address on 17 JAN 1961: “…research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    The process is known as Lysenkoism.

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  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Tony Thomas has a comprehensive article on the Australian Academy of Science this week in Quadrant.

    As bad as the Royal Society. Worse even.

    My conclusion: that building is a flying saucer.

    10

  • #
    Jim Stewart

    Spot on post and Title.
    Since being formed in 1660 and then weaned onto Government funds in the 1850’s the Society has been ‘outgunned’ by the DIY’s giants in the doing class.
    Abraham Darby (Metalworker)- produced first quality steel in 1709 using coke (coal) and iron ore. Saved forests from depletion for charcoal production.
    Thomas Newcomen (Iron Maker) – Developed the first energy source – the steam engine. The first engine driving a beam pump to dewater a coal mine in 1712. [James Watt (Instrument Maker) made this engine much more efficient in 1763 and also invented the cetrifugal governor to control the engine output].
    John Harrison (Carpenter) – Invented a clock in 1720’s that kept time to within one second in a month, ‘Rolex of the day’. He also solved the problem for seafarers finding their longitude position which made world travel (and safe return) possible.
    Michael Faraday (Bookbinder) – Discovered rotation effects of electrical energy in the 1820 and 30’s so allowing the development of electrical motors and generators.
    Charles Hall / Paul Heroult – Invented the Aluminium Smelting cell in their ‘backyards’ simultaneously (coincidently both died in the same year,1914).
    Henry Ford (Machinist) – Motor car inventor, 1896 first drive. What freedom he gave to modern man & woman.
    Wright Brothers (Bicycle Makers) – Developed the airplane and flew for the first time in 1903. Taking humans to the sky.
    Einstein (Teacher and Technical Assistant) – When, in his spare time, he did his most renarkable work.

    Summary – Clear lessons for governments to be very careful in funding ‘research’ or in ‘picking winners’ of worthwhile developments.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting on them learning however.

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  • #
    David Cooke

    It’s sad, considering the Society’s long history and the bright reputation it once had. In time all institutions seem to become corrupted and diverge from their original goals, and perhaps there should be a process of winding them up and establishing a replacement every (say) 200 years.

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  • #
    J.H.

    So the Royal Society is nothing but prepaid Government Propaganda to “scientifically” justify political policies on demand…….. It’s sad how we have allowed Bureaucracy to undermine our Western Democracy. That we allow a Socialist Bureaucratic elite to replace knowledge with ignorance, facts with fictions.

    Lysenko-ism in my time…. Sometimes I can scant believe it.

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  • #
    Kevin Moore

    O.T.

    Countdown to Venus Transit – 1 day, 19 hours,…

    Watch it live.

    http://venustransit.nso.edu/live.html

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  • #
    KeithH

    As an older Australian, the corruption by Government policy-driven agendas through funding control and grants allocations of once great and well-respected organisations such as the Australian Academy of Science, CSIRO, BoM and other institutions has been one of the saddest outcomes of promotion of the CAGW myth. I believe that many genuine members of these bodies are suffering by having through financial necessity to remain silent at the trashing of genuine research with the garbage now emanating under the guise of “real science” from some of the warmistas pushing their alarmist nonsense. I hope to live long enough to see some of them brought to justice or at least publicly exposed and shamed if only for the damage they have caused to science and gullible young minds! I once used to joke that if a government could impose a tax on the air we breathe and dumb down enough of the population into not only accepting it but some actually asking for it, they would have achieved the ultimate fiscal con. Credit where dubious credit is due, Gillard, Swan Combet & Co., the Greens and so-called Independents have finally done it!!

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  • #
    Lucky Blue

    John Harrison inventor of the accurate clock which was crucial in navigation-
    There was a prize for the invention. The Royal Society gave Harrison much praise but squabbled over giving money, some members may also have been contenders. After 35 years of struggle on the clock Harrison got his prize money only after a petition to King George III.

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  • #
    Owen Morgan

    Am I right in thinking that the dreadful Steve “Call me Steve” Jones, student of snails, is now a member of the Royal Society, having bought his way in with his ridiculous report for the Ministry of Information (or the “BBC”, as it prefers to be known)?

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  • #
    Stacey

    The Right Royal Society has so so much money but so so little time to respond to little ol me.
    I just pointed out that Nurse had broadcast an untruth on the BBC. Man made CO2 emissions SEVEN times those of naturally occurring emissions.
    No reply, even when reminded, how corrupt is that?
    Nurse should return his Noble Prize at which time I will willingly award him Nobhead of the year. For his contribution to the advancement of ignorance.
    No climate change science crooks were injured in the making of this post and none should feel threatened. 🙂

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  • #
    Turnedoutnice

    Now they have elected Eugenicist Paul Erlich, they have gone for broke; they have become the core of a new Nazi cult.

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  • #
    Joe's World

    Jo,

    Interesting how scientists see they have made absolutely no errors.
    They choose to ignore anything which may burst their bubble and defend what is ridiculous.
    All backed by government funding…
    Seems like a vicious circle that the general public is not allowed in but is dictated as to what is in their best interest. Even though it is usually in the best interest of the politicians alone and NOT the public.

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  • #
    Bruce D Scott

    Thank you for an informative, accurate and honest article Jo, with which I fully agree. So far, I have not visited this site and not left encouraged by yourself and most, but not all contributors, so, once again, thank you.

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  • #
    Stacey

    Dear Jo

    Is there a reason my comment is awaiting moderation?

    S

    ———————

    Stacey: Unfortunately since the changeover, where 100,000 comments went Awol, and because the cheque from Exxon still hasn’t arrived, we have not got all the comments sorted out, and many new ones are going through moderation when they don’t need to be. Thanks for your patience (to all delayed commenters). — Jo

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  • #
    Anton

    “The Royal Society that serves The Government does not serve The People.”

    Indeed Jo. Another relevant comment in view of that pie chart is “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

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