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Trust Researchers

May 18th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Pontydysgu has added its name to the 12589 other organisations from across Europe who have signed the Trust Researchers online petition.

The web site says: “The funding of European research should be based on trust and responsible partnering. Today researchers in Europe face a lot of red tape and cumbersome financial regulations. We are not against rules. But we need to simplify.

Those who have signed this declaration ask the European Council of Ministers and the Parliament to simplify the administrative procedures and the financial provisions of European research funding.”

Whilst we understand the need for financial transparency and accountability, too much of our time is presently spent filling in forms and returns which would seem to add little to research, to accountability or to the public use of our research. And, if research is to contribute to societal development, we need better dialogue betwen funders, researchers and practitioners, people who use our work. Personally I would also like to see more discussion over the purpose and ethics of publicly funded research.

I have talked with many of the European civil servants responsible for managing and developing European research and development programmes and know they share our frustrations about the endless layers of bureaucracy that envelope programmes and initiatives. There seems to be a number of different causes – the demands of elected (and non elected) politicians, the adoption of inappropriate measures for monitoring particular programmes, the requirement to collect data for reporting purposes and a lack of understanding of the process and outcomes of research. Hopefully the petition could begin a dialogue around some of these issues.

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