The Rothschild ReportIn 1971, when Margaret Thatcher was secretary of state for education and thus in charge of science, the Rothschild report was presented to parliament. It redefined government scientific research along the lines of private enterprise. Scientists became "contractors". The departments that funded them became "customers". Since Thatcher, science has had to make itself sexy and accessible while funds have been slashed in a succession of reviews: the Rayner scrutinies, the Ibbs report, the Levene white paper, the Lebrecht report and Michael Heseltine's Prior Options.
...How starved is the research work that has less sex-appeal than cloning? Tom Wilkie, now a senior policy adviser at the Wellcome Trust, was science editor of the Independent when he contrasted two job ads, one for a PhD-calibre protein chemist, the other for a switchboard operator. The switchboard operator got paid more, and still does.