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.