Posted by: Dan | September 1, 2006

“Safe,” Non-Risky, Non-Innovative Research

Terra Sigillata has a commentary on a WSJ Science Journal article by Sharon Begley that should concern anyone who recognizes that the US relies heavily on technological innovation:

Sharon Begley writes in the WSJ Science Journal on a more disturbing trend whose rumblings I have also begun to hear: the trend toward “safe,” non-risky, non-innovative projects.


Begley quotes another perspective, a well-known molecular biologist:

When 27% of proposals were funded, it wasn’t that hard to separate the top quarter, says molecular biologist Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco. “There was a natural cutoff,” he says. But at 10% “the ability to distinguish a grant that deserves funding from one that does not vanishes. It becomes a crapshoot, with every grant in jeopardy.”

This is very ominous stuff, and along the lines of what Robert Weinberg said a couple months ago in Cell on A Lost Generation of creative and innovative researchers. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this was part of the Republican agenda to distort and defund government funded science, as well as education, healthcare, etc.


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