I decided to write my last blog on this topic from an article I found in the guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/feb/27/taxpayers-value-money-research-funding

As a person who is absolutely rubbish with a computer I couldn’t find the exact amount of taxpayers’ money goes to basic research but I do know I don’t think we should.
I asked my parents the question I am trying to know more about and they both had the same answer “no”. But why?

Before we can answer the question we need to have a better understanding of what basic research is.

Basic research is the study or research of science that increases our scientific knowledge. The research is usually theoretical and is trying to increases ones understanding but doesn’t seek to solve or treat the problem.

There is also another type of research which is usually carried out by private companies and sometimes subsidized with taxpayers’ money. This is applied research.

In layman’s terms applied research is to improve the human condition. Applied research is designed to solve practical problems e.g. to treat or cure a specific disease.

So what do you think as taxpayer’s?

Well as I am not a taxpayer at the moment I cannot really complain, but in a few years I will be and I know I want to know what my money is going to be used for whether it be to the help of basic research or applied research.  

What research has been done in the past?

Basic research has played a vital role in many advancements of science. A great example of this is the discovery of x-rays which then led to studying bone fractures, but what has applied research done. Applied research has brought many vaccinations e.g. polio and small pox.

At the beginning of this blog my answer was no to basic research beginning funded with taxpayers money, but now that I am near the end of my blog, I can see many advantages and disadvantages to the funding of basic and applied research.

One main advantage to taxpayers money being used to fund basic research is that there is always a chance that a new disease or new form of equipment for medical use may be found.

Both applied and basic research is important and we should stop putting them against each other.  As Keith Stanovich(2007) said “It is probably a mistake to view the basic-versus-applied distinction solely in terms of whether a study has practical applications, because this difference often simply boils down to a matter of time.  Applied findings are of use immediately.  However, there is nothing so practical as a general and accurate theory.”

In conclusion, I think taxpayers should fund research whether it be basic or applied but get told what their money is being used for.

Articles and references:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/feb/23/scientists-basic-research-business

http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.25.4.165

Stanovich, K. (2007).  How to Think Straight About Psychology: 8th Edition.  Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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