This organization would be charged with the task of establishing and coordinating the academic science research pursuits of TMP. Pure science research has traditionally been the province of universities with what was essentially ‘charity’ support of nobility and the well-heeled. In the 20th Century national governments –inspired as much by the weapons and industrial potential of science as its positive value to society– began to create taxpayer-funded institutions dedicated to science research, though still relying largely on sponsorship of universities even while creating more dedicated –and often task-specific– laboratories and other facilities. Large corporations also began to invest in pure science research, as distinct from their more product-focused engineering-oriented research and development. Becoming ‘patrons’ of science, much like the nobility of the past, has often been seen as a means to prestige for corporations –much as it was for that nobility. Though mostly sponsoring university research, they have also provided dedicated facilities within their own corporate facilities –especially when they become patrons for scientists of some celebrity status.
The communities of TMP will need to cultivate different systems of higher education owing to the need to be more space-efficient and because, in space, convenient travel by students to distant universities is not practical. In the advanced culture developed by TMP, education is a life-long endeavor, not the province of some special phase of life, and the reliance on specialized centralized learning facilities makes no sense. And so, through the use of advanced courseware technology and with the efforts of GreenStar Education as part of the GreenStar Community Cooperative TMP’s communities would cultivate a sort of virtual university spread among them. The ‘campus’ of this virtual university would be anywhere the Internet goes.
This precludes the traditional role of the university campus as a physical center of science research activity as there would be no physical university facilities. Thus Foundation must establish a different system for administering science research based on dedicated facilities as well as the use of facilities donated by the members of the GreenStar Industrial Cooperative. This is the essential job of the GreenStar Science Research Cooperative. Functioning in some ways like the GreenStar Community Cooperative, this organization would be a body of scientists living in TMP communities who collectively budget for science research and the creation of facilities and projects ultimately sponsored by the Foundation CIC through the cooperative, individual companies in the GreenStar Industrial Cooperative, as well as individual communities who may seek to create science facilities for the sake of their community growth or prestige. Whereas scientists of the past have generally had the dual-role of researcher and teacher, TMP’s scientists would have the dual role of researcher and member of the research cooperative committee which democratically chooses projects and facilities promoted from among them to be sponsored. Of course, some may also still have the role of teacher as part of their development of courseware and various forms of ‘edutainment’ media which scientists would have an incentive to participate in for sake of personal prestige much as they do today.
While this approach to administering science research may not be any more efficient than current systems –since leaving a community of scientists to decide their own scientific priorities is as politics-prone as leaving the choice to politicians and the upper-class– it does put the scientific community in a position of closer connection and responsibility to the communities in which they live. Every community has the final word on whether or not a given kind of facility gets built in/near them and, unlike taxpayers who have no choice in the matter, every resident stock-holder in a Foundation CIC community has a say in the community investment priorities of the CIC and the option to divest if he feels he could better spend that portion of stock dividend rolled into things like science. Science has always been one part research, one part politics, and one part show-biz…
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