In September, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in Great Britain awarded nine grants to various studies, the majority of which regards building bonds between science and arts. Some of the scientists’ fields of interest raised a few eyebrows.
No one was surprised at £ 1.95 million given to a philosophical and neurological study on senses, there was no fuss about £ 1.98 million being granted to a study on the understanding of vector space dimensions from nanometres to kilometres. However, evening papers and tabloids came to life when they noticed that £ 1.94 million was allocated to a project entitled „Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions”.
I am also bewildered by the fact that there is so much money in the world to be given away. Sure, the issue is vital. After all, we are not certain when the chickens first appeared in Europe or the British Isles. And how do we communicate with them before we cut their throats?
The “Nature” magazine adds: if the research grants are given to scientists by other scientists, maybe it is down to them to explain what this is all about to the taxpayers.
Prof. Magdalena Fikus
Professor of molecular biology, a lecturer at many prestigious universities and a prominent science populariser. The co-creator, co-organiser and for many years the chairwoman of the Programme Board of the Science Festival in Warsaw. A member of the EUSCEA international association, the chairwoman of the Science Promotion Council at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. A member of the CSC Programme Board since the foundation of the Copernicus Science Centre.