In 1999, one American university alone spent US$760,000 on lobbying politicians for funding to improve its science facilities. Boston University was criticized when it contracted a professional lobbying agency, Cassidy & Associates, to do the ‘dirty’ work. That is how it would be considered in the medieval world of European science politics. Welcome to the arcane, unintuitive and dimly lit labyrinth of the European Commission (EC). While some wander the narrow passageways with no more than a tallow torch to light their way, eventually joining the dusty skeletons, others seem to be friends with its keepers, and know the passwords to the secret rooms.

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