Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Power to the people alright...

This is bloody scary.
It is hard enough to get a well funded government grant.
Now the US congress (who are completely scientific experts I'm sure) want their fingers in how the grants will be decided and handed out?



There is enough bending over and pandering to the "hot topics" of the current science world to try and get funding for valuable research. There is already extreme peer review for national granting and this would place even more government restrictions on what science is allowed to study and research in theis country. Yes it's US, but the way our Canadian government has muzzled scientists and fired many environmental researchers and cut environmental controls and protections we may follow suit very shortly without even batting an eye.

OH yes, on the surface one could argue that this sort of thing would ensure science meets public and society needs without "wasting" money on rare and minute topics, but the fact is that those oddball topics rarely get funding anyways unless they're so fucking exciting that they can prove their validity and future quality. The fact that this even comes up shows a general disconnect between scientists and government as they genuinely do not understand, for the most part, just what we scientists *do*.

The conference I was at 2 weeks ago in London had a few sessions on what I so dearly hope will be the future of research funding in both medicine and science - Crowd funding. Seriously. Promote your lab and work and put out a topic there. Contact interest groups. If they want you to do your work they will donate, possibly even online, to fund your work. You will report back to them what you have discovered. Groups with particular diseases could put their money where their mouth is. I hear my hippy friends rant all the time about big pharma and governments corrupting research and medicine and to a small degree they are right. And you know what I tell them - if you want good research into areas you feel strongly about - lobby the government! Raise money for the agencies that fund their research...(or better yet) and together and crowd fund them.


solarity said...

Understand what scientists do? They don't even seem to understand what science IS.

Mary Anne in Kentucky