Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb says a proportion of government support for research should be directed to areas of most pressing concern. (http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/2013/02/setting-strategic-research-priorities/)
“There are many important areas of research pursued in Australia,’’ he said. “But amongst all those, we have to be sure that those that are the most pressing, the most critical for us right now, are identified and supported. In a system where the capacity to support research is, effectively, rationed, we need to know that the ranking systems we use are not letting slip the most important areas.’’
The Australian Centre for Innovation has ben arguing for fifteen years (just check our publications) that we need an accepted process to focus enough of our limited resources on areas where we can extract a majority of the downstream benefit.