Saturday, May 4, 2013

Reading the new issue of Discover

In the recent Discover magazine I turn the page and find this:
Improve Medical Research, Scrap Funding Model

For nearly seven decades, federal agencies and many private funders have financed medical research through competitive grants to individual scientists who submit proposals for particular projects. This system is intended to match available funds with the best researchers and ideas.

But today's competition for limited grant money encourages overly safe research, aimed more at producing positive results to bolster future proposals than at breaking new ground. The current system discourages high-risk, high-payoff science...

I don't need to read any more. I already have a response.

The first paragraph sets the stage by describing the how and why of funding for science. The second paragraph describes problems with that system. Between the two is a transition phrase: "But today's competition for limited grant money..."

That's the problem, right there. The money. Problems with money create other problems. And then people write articles proposing to fix those other problems by changing the way things have been done for seventy years or more.

It may be a way to cope, but it does not solve the real problem.

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