Alternatives to Academia

Dougald Hine is trying to reinvent the intelligentsia. How can we help?


  1. Pingback: Rethinking our institutions and our ideas // Dougald's Blog

  2. Looks like they're doing plenty of partnering with universities, though. I'm presuming in the US as in the UK, private capital has a very strong presence in all universities and especially science departments. Here, it's all about "impact" (measuring how our work effects those outside the academe or, often, what the scope for commercialisation of the work is) and "knowledge transfer" (developing actual working links across the public/private divide; or as that link says, "strengthen the UK's competitiveness and wealth creation by enabling research organisations to apply their research knowledge to important business problems.")

  3. "wealth creation" ... research should be used to fix "important business problems". Sounds awful. Much of the best science breakthroughs - and yes, with practical applications - has come from "basic research" which is not goal-driven.

    This is bass-ackwards. I'm reminded of Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" which pointed out that Europe was following the US model.

  4. I think the UK has managed to discover, in many areas, a truly unique mix of public and private that maximises the worst elements of both. E.g. This on housing regeneration failure (that I was involved in campaigning around back in 2005).

    The necessity to involve the private sector in the 'pathfinder' regeneration meant the need for 'site assembly': big private developers simply wouldn't get out of bed for small areas of redevelopment. The result was warped: plenty of perfectly good housing had lines drawn round it for demolition (site assembly) so private capital would be attracted. As it turns out, the bureaucracy involved (the worst part of the public aspect) meant financial problems mostly overtook the project's aims and so - as that first story covers - it's left many areas blighted, where a small amount of public spending could have revitalised the area.

    That *is* a US import (similar things happened in Harlem, 'retail-led regeneration' - we imported that too) but we made it our own. The google project MT links to looks like it does a lot right: it's quite open and appears to offer routes into genuine collaboration and information sharing.

    Though I'd like to hear more about the broader issue of "public-private" over the pond. Technically, the stuff Dougald is talking about comes under the "private" heading, but I can't imagine anything much further from public bodies prettying themselves up to attract big capital.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.