Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate and President of the Royal Society of London, has recently given two important lectures which must be essential reading for all those interested in science and its role in developing New Zealand.
In his Anniversary Address to the Royal Society [transcript (subscription required) or video], Sir Paul gives a very cogent argument for why basic science is an essential component of national investment in research. He goes on to discuss the principles under which the funding of research priorities should be established.
In the 2012 Richard Dimbleby Lecture entitled The New Enlightenment [transcript or video], Sir Paul talks about the critical cultural contribution that science makes to society. We cannot underestimate how important that is. Science can improve our health and quality of life; it can help solve the world’s major problems; and it is absolutely essential to driving our economy. As Sir Paul points out, “science matters to us all.”
His two lectures eloquently describe the short-term and long-term costs of under-investment in discovery science and emerging scientists.