This article in yesterday’s Times was very interesting for me. It echoes a number of issues I have commented on before about academia and how academics are treated, but there is a crucial difference: while I have long been in academia in one way or another, I am hardly in the upper tier, and certainly have never had to deal with senior administration, or know much about other fields outside of biology / geology, or the historical (recent or long term) aspects of these problems. It’s nice to know that this all appears to tally with what I have been saying (as well as adding some social commentary as to how academics are perceived in the UK), but it’s a horrible shame that things seem to be far worse than I thought. Pay is down a huge amount while the work goes up, funding is cut, more students need supervising and the general opinion of academics according to the public continues to drop. Nice.
I understand that governments and indeed the general public are actually interested in space travel / curing diseases / discovering new particles / finding dinosaurs / stopping global warming / saving species / feeding the world / predicting economic meltdowns etc. If so, they might like to actually consider funding the group of people who are actually doing that kind of work, and then listening to them when they have some ideas about these and other issues.