Two articles from the UK's Guardian highlight increasing tension between funding for basic research and a focus on science with short-term financial impact. According to this story, a group called Scientists for Global Responsibility published a report saying that British "government policy has 'driven a corporate agenda into the heart of universities,' undermining their openness and independence," the article says.
In this article, newly minted Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan said that plans to shift funding away from basic research are a "huge mistake." The story quotes him as saying, "There is a lot of focus now on trying to get very quick pay-offs in research. It is a huge mistake. Basic science has paid off far more than any directed research."