Experimental Lakes Area may be sold to private organization

10 November 2012

A while ago Droplets reported on the Canadian governments decision to terminate funding for the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) , one of the few global ‘field laboratories’ for lake research.  Rumours have it that the government would transfer the unit for the token cost of $1 to a private buyer.  Controversy has now erupted around the issue of whether the ELA should stay in government hands or risk losing its independence if owned by a ‘private organization’.  More to the point, the loss of direct feed of findings to government decision-makers would be a big negative.

However, if the Canadian government is so dim as to have even contemplated closing down as valuable a research entity as the ELA, then they don’t deserve to have any benefits from it.  The ELA’s scientists should be strong-willed enough to not be bullied into making ‘favourable’ decisions – science is stronger than that – provided it does not succumb to ‘chequebook management’ – all too common to the ‘scientists without backbones’ group.  By all means let, for example, industry fund the work, have bulletproof agreements in place to offset ‘vested interests’ and use the new venture to hound governments shortcomings!

 

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