Supercomputer racks Acquiring a big research grant is an exceptionally good way of gaining kudos in a university. It is a considerable source of clout, even real power, over one's colleagues in the Schools and Faculty, and an essential pre-requisite to becoming a full Professor.

So it is no real surprise that academic researchers are always on the lookout for The Next Big Thing to fund their insatiable appetite for resources. Right now, of course, the Big Thing is on the intercept of green politics, economic and cultural globalisation, and the biophysics and geophysics of climate change.

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