Task 2: Scientific research should be carried out and controlled by the governments rather than private companies. Do you agree or disagree?
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Introduction: (1) refer to the statement (2) opinion: recognize the arguments for the opposing view, but agree with the statement
Paragraph 2: two dangers of private conduct of research (1) results may be flawed, due to profit motive – example, thalidomide (malformed births) (2) ethical – social consequences of research are not prioritized – example, GM crops.
Paragraph 3: governments should control research (1) universities can conduct high-quality research and share knowledge (2) expenditure on areas of research can be prioritized – example: renewable energy.
Conclusion: agree with the statement.
At present, scientific research across the world is carried out and controlled sometimes by governments, sometimes by private companies. While there are some arguments in favour of scientific research by corporations, I agree with the view that this should be funded and supervised by the state.
The private sector argues that it is willing to undertake scientific research, but there are two significant dangers in this. In terms of the quality and objectivity of the research itself, corporations which carry this out may be tempted to manipulate results in order to maximize profits. There have been numerous scandals as a result of new products being introduced hurriedly after inadequate trials. For example thalidomide, developed by a German drug company, resulted in the birth of thousands of malformed children. From an ethical perspective, leaving research into areas such as genetic engineering in the hands of corporations may have profound social consequences -such as GM crops, with unproven effects which may destroy whole ecosystems as a result of meddling with nature.
Although governments have to allocate resources to many areas of public spending, it is essential that they be responsible for scientific research. Firstly, the highest standards can be set by providing funding for university departments to carry out high-quality research designed to benefit society, not to break into new markets or to gain a competitive edge. Knowledge thus gained can be shared worldwide throughout the academic community. Secondly, government-decision making is the best way to prioritize expenditure on specific areas of research, taking into consideration the needs of society, both present and future. One example is the development of renewable energy to meet growing demands.
In conclusion, I agree strongly with the view that governments should bear sole responsibility for scientific research.
Business and money:
to maximize profits
Meaning: to increase profits to the highest possible level
Example: The company has hired a marketing consultant to recommend how to
maximize profits next year.
• to break into new markets
Meaning: to enter new markets that are difficult to enter
Example: It is difficult to break into new markets for designer sportswear,
because there is too much competition for leading markets like Nike.
• to gain a competitive edge
Meaning: to achieve an advantage over another company or organization, often by providing goods or services at a lower price.
Example: The high quality of vw cars has enabled the company to gain a competitive edge over all its rivals in world markets.
• genetic engineering
Meaning: the science of changing how a living creature or plant develops by changing the information in its genes.
Example: Scientists have used genetic engineering to protect tomatoes against the effect of freezing temperatures.
• genetically-modified (GM) crops
Meaning: plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been changed by using genetic engineering techniques.
Example: There is a scientific consensus that currently-available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food.
• unproven effects
Meaning: effects which have not been tested or shown to be true Example: Critics of GM crops argue that the unproven effects of this technology may have disastrous results in the future.
• to damage ecosystems
Meaning: to harm the physical environment in which all the plants and animals living in a particular area are able to survive.
Example: Genetic applications in agriculture have many unknown effects, one of which is that they may damage ecosystems and threaten many species.
• to meddle with nature
Meaning: to try to change or to have an influence on the environment, especially by acting in a way that is not scientific.
Example: Some scientists have said that GM crops mean more plentiful food, but opponents argue that we do not know the consequences of meddling with nature.
• to allocate resources to
Meaning: to make money and materials available to do something.
Example: If governments allocate more resources to improving public transport, this will reduce the problem of traffic congestion in cities.
• to provide funding for
Meaning: to give money to enable something to be done
Example: Providing funding for health care must be a priority of governments.
• government decision-making
Meaning: the process of deciding about something official Example: Pressure groups are sometimes able to influence government decisionmaking.
• to prioritize expenditure on
Meaning: to put the need to spend money on certain things first.
Example: I believe that it is important to prioritize expenditure on medical research in order to save lives.
• renewable energy
Meaning: energy is renewable when its source, like the sun or wind, cannot be exhausted or can easily be replaced (like wood, as we can plant trees for energy).
Example: More money is required from government funds to help companies to develop renewable energy, such as companies which produce solar panels for buildings.