I helped John to arrange some of the tasting and evaluation on these beers so I figured I might address a few of these points.
The way I understood the study is that he made two generic beers and had his friends taste them. What about how oxidation changes different types of beer (e.g. hoppy vs. malty, low ABV vs. high ABV)? Why weren't qualified judges or people with greater qualifications tasting cask beer used to create the data points?
You noted that he "had his friends taste them" but we actually lined up a panel of 7 tasters including 4 BJCP judges (including 2 National and 1 Grand Master judge) who tasted the beers blind and could not tell a great difference.
It was an interesting question raised but I don't consider the results very useful. It's no more "research" than the "research" I am doing with each batch I brew and drink.
I think that the experiment was a bit more rigorous than just our everyday drinking since the beers were brewed, fermented, stored and served side-by-side to minimize as much variability as possible.
The project concluded little difference between the air-vented cask and the one supported by a cask breather after one day of venting and drawing from the first cask. Did perceptions of the beer change after 2 days, 3 days, a week? If so, what qualities changed in the air-vented cask?
As far as this point is concerned, John and I discussed the possibility of tasting daily over several days and agreed that it would be beneficial. Unfortunately the people tasting were pulled from all over the region and were mostly 45 min to an hour away so it just wasn't viable to go back day after day.
Is there more that could be done with additional time and funding? Sure, and I would encourage everyone to do it. I don't think that the Research & Education Fund grants must have the scope of a Master's thesis. Simpler questions are options too.