The ABC News is reporting that the Australian government has stopped funding Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) on
cheaper solar cells, the Great Barrier Reef and Rainforests because of a lack of commerical outcomes for their research.
It would appear that they want CRCs to focus on “commercial outcomes” (i.e. products) rather than finding important things out. 🙁
Of course, this comes at the same time that CSIRO has appointed a director of communications who said as a lawyer for tobacco companies "I do not believe that cigarette smoking is an addiction, based on any reasonable definition," before a Senate committee in 1994. Not to mention the fact that Australia’s Chief Scientist is also Chief Technologist for Rio Tinto, the mining giant, for whom he still works 3 days a week.
Now the fact that Rio Tinto are heavily promoting carbon sequestration and the fact that the solar power CRC had it’s funding scrapped is, of course, complete coincidence. But this looks suspicious and I strongly believe that such apparent conflict of interests should not be permitted.