Body of cynicism

I, too, am a touch cynical about the new Energy Institute featured in your editorial (Comment, 18 September).

It is not hard to deduce from the pages of your own magazine that many millions of pounds of public money already go into research in these very areas — often in association with universities and private corporations.

Lumping it all together as an ‘institute’ gives the impression of action. The trouble is it can also create a citadel of research that appears to have official blessing, purely because it has been sanctioned by the new institute, while anything that is outside looks isolated from where the action really is.

The reality is that if a big corporation thinks a technology is good enough to spend money on, it will spend it with or without the involvement of an institute. If it is good enough it will find its way to the market.

The real question is how much will the Energy Institute cost to set up, staff and run, and could that money have been used to fund more actual research?

James Hall, Bristol




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