It’s the scientific risk premium that counts!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I believe it’s of interest to reproduce below a few paragraphs from a statement made recently by my son Federico, who is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology:

“It seemed that with a critical mass of researchers and research centers we were going to be able to ‘catch the train’ of European science, but unfortunately this is now in danger: our scientific risk premium, our differential with other leading countries in the world, is once again on the rise.

This gap is widening, aggravated by the fact that these current times of global economic crisis (as well as a crisis of values, more relevant than ever) make it easier to relegate knowledge to a level of lesser importance.

Advanced societies must have the critical capacity to generate knowledge, transfer it to future generations and transform it into applications. This is essential if we are to face the future with certain guarantees of success.

It appears particularly appropriate at this time to remind society of the significant advances achieved in healthcare, diagnostics, genetics and new materials… gleaned from basic research. It’s clear that cutting-edge research plays a fundamental role in development and welfare.

It’s not only the task of scientists to call for support for research, but rather society and entrepreneurs should likewise demand that science be made a priority…

I must warn of the risk that the flight of so many young scientists to other countries entails. The opportunity to play a prominent role in science, attracting brilliant young people to scientific fields may be frustrated by the current budget cuts, restrictions and pessimism”.

I fully agree with these points of view. It’s the fifty-something generation that we should listen to, rather than our own.

Yes, the scientific risk premium is the one that really counts.