Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 441.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 07:47:11 +0000
From: "P. T. Rourke" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Education of Engineers - Small Business Research
I don't know if this will interest anyone, as it is quite far from the
usual topics of conversation on Humanist (and so if it is not posted, I
will not be at all surprised or disappointed) and quite far, too, from the
interests of working humanists, but I thought it worth mentioning.
> At the same time, she notes, there is a very strong "back to practice"
> movement within engineering that she identifies with the growing
> market-orientated forces. The consulting practice that once bridged
> university labs with businesses has been drastically weakened as companies
> realize that they "can get the benefit of good research ideas by investing
> in and eventually buying up small companies, which pay more attention to
> marketability, timeliness, and productivity than university labs."
Larger companies can get the benefit of good research by hiring small
companies, not only by investing in them and buying them up. That is what
my employers do (a small R&D company of about 150 persons, most of them
working scientists and engineers, more than half holding doctorates):
provide research to other companies as a contracted service. A discussion
of such Contract Research Organizations can be found in the article linked
Weiss, Robert F., "Science for Hire: The Emergence of Contract Research
What this has to do (my own comments, not Prof. McCarty's) with the
concerns of the humanities computing discipline I cannot say. It has seemed
to me that the implications of Prof. McCarty's posting are that there are
parallels between humanities computing and for instance bioinformatics that
might have relevance to the growth of the former discipline, and that the
key distinction is in the obvious commercializability of bioinformatics'
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