Dick Olver of BAE System recently had a letter in the FT. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f972de76-61e2-11df-998c-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss about re-developing the UK's industrial potential, with reference to harnessing "inventive thought" from the Universities
Mr Dyson has an article on much the same subject in the Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7772459/Britain-can-lead-in-technology-but-it-must-change.html?state=target#postacomment&postingId=7778626
Then today the Prime Minister speaks on much the same subject
http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/David-Cameron-Visits-Yorkshire-To-Give-A-Major-Speech-On-Transforming-The-Economy/Article/201005415639620?lpos=Politics_First_Home_Article_Teaser_Region_8&lid=ARTICLE_15639620_David_Cameron_Visits_Yorkshire_To_Give_A_Major_Speech_On_Transforming_The_Economy

BUT
I have just had a grant application turned down because it was for practical trials and further development of a technology well investigated by the then leading [British] scientist in the field in the late 50's and then forgotten, It was invented by a lady. The principle of the proposed project is that of the Pilot Plant where "one makes one's mistakes on a small scale so that profits may be on a large one" by practical trial and error.

Comments from the Grant Technical Assessment

Solar thermal physics is well understood and collectors of all types have been extensively characterized. [not the one I am working with] The proposed approach is not scientific in that no mathematical modelling of heat transfer is to be carried out, instead the applicant proposes to collect performance data by experimental methods.[How else to prove something works ??!!]

but the right approach is through properly conducted research and development, building upon mathematical models.[How do you prove that your mathematics work in practise ??]

The suggested evaluation methodology for the device appears to be of an entirely empirical nature and no mention is made by the applicant of any modeling or mathematical analysis of the expected performance. A thorough mathematical treatment of concentrating solar collectors has been given by many authors including Duffie and Beckman (2006) [they do not cover the technology involved] so a predicted performance and optimisation could be carried out as an academic desk study instead of the proposed iterative experimental approach. [this might lead to special component design requirements instead of what is proposed using existing commercially available ones which could be much cheaper ?]

Mathematical modeling can be used to determine the expected effectiveness of this arrangement without the need for experimental trials.[!!!]

Design principles proposed are entirely based upon experiments rather than mathematical modeling.[Why not !!!!***???]

IF THE GOVERNMENT SCIENTIFIC BUREAUCRACY THINKS AS ABOVE WHAT HOPE FOR THE INITITATIVES PROPOSED BY MR OLVER, MR DYSON, AND THE PRIME MINISTER