Real science is excellent science – how to interpret post-academic science, Mode 2 and the ERC

part of John Ziman

When thinking about this contribution, an homage to John Ziman, one question occurred to me repeatedly: what would John have made of the European Research Council? Here is a newly established institution with the sole objective to fund ‘frontier research’ at EU level, based exclusively on scientific excellence and subject to pan-European competition of the best researchers. Would he have interpreted it as a vindication of academic science as a culture, a deliberate turning away from ‘post-academic science’ or even of overcoming it? Or, would he have seen it as the establishment of a small niche, to be recognized (and praised) for its respect for the norms of academic science, whose wider impact still has to be seen?