Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Day 2

Back on track with my second post. Today (really today) was a new format. There were two sets of 'adversarial' discussions - David Keith and Ulrich Platt on SRM efficacy and Ted Parsons and Alexander Proelss on Governance. Both were illuminating, neither were particularly adversarial. Alexander did have to argue somewhat out of his comfort zone (a principle I am now familiar with) and I think did a very good jobBetter than me, anyway. In one comedy moment David and Uli tried to engender some difference by blindly answering the question 'what proportion of a 10M budget would you spend on investigating new particles?'...both said 10%.

I found the afternoon session an little useful and a lot less structured. I am not sure what the expected outcomes were, but it appeared a bit scattergun. I like light-touch moderation and Timo provided some excellent, stimulating ideas. Maybe the idea of preparing a research proposal is a bit ambitious given the age of the participants. Echoes of the sandpit process were obvious to me, probably not to anyone else. I suspect from that meeting any proposals would be in the Mentors' graven image, and not by their design either. The use of the word mentor troubles me now, as then, given the stated objectives. I am also not convinced labelling and separating (even by choice) the physical scientists and social scientists is a great idea either. It seems counter to the painful lessons learned over the course of SPICE.

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