Just spent a couple of days in Ireland with Intel, talking about its general research efforts across Europe. This research is in addition to the R&D the chip company undertakes in order to develop new products.
There's a lot going on, as Intel funds organisations across a number of disciplines, especially in areas such as the use of technology to bring healthcare closer to people, nanotechnology, energy efficiency, science education and even entrepreneurship.
Many of the research efforts are collaborative in nature, and involve bringing together organisations including governments and the EU to co-ordinate funding.
But given the size of the UK's population, there's a gaping hole in the map of Intel's efforts which is barely filled by a single UK research lab. One of the Intel researchers confirmed that the reason for this was to at least some extent due to the ambivalent attitude of UK institutions – especially the government – towards the European project, an attitude that its Irish counterpart doesn't share. As a result, the UK receives less funding from these initiatives.
What are the odds of the UK realising any time soon that it is, geographically, politically and culturally part of Europe, and that this lack of whole-hearted participation in such projects is damaging?
Answers on a postcard...