Thu Dec 13, 2012, 07:06 PM
Celebration (15,807 posts)
Researchers claim NIH grant process is 'totally broken'
3 replies, 782 views
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Response to Celebration (Original post)
Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:08 PM
man4allcats (3,935 posts)
1. The commercialization of science will
only lead to technology, and technology is easily provided by engineers. While you may well find useful and marketable products from this source, you will not find the creativity and insight of a Darwin, a Mendel, an Einstein, a Pauling, a Bohr or a Hawking. That is the difference between engineers and scientists.
Response to man4allcats (Reply #1)
Sat Dec 15, 2012, 06:31 AM
momto3 (615 posts)
3. I disagree.
The greatest advances in technology, especially biotech, will have to come from collaborations of basic scientists, engineers and clinicians. I am fortunate to work in a setting that fosters these types of collaborations, and I can tell you from personal experience, that engineering, chemical, biological and medical sciences are co-dependent. This is especially true in fields such as bioengineering, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
The real problem stems from the fact that the NIH current methods of funding do not support collaborative science. Nor does promotin and tenure eligibility in academic settings. Proof of "independent" research is required. But this is almost impossible to do, when funding for new NIH grants is around 7%. The NIH has to report all progress to congress in order to obtain budget increases (which is not happening anyways) and the only way to maintain funding levels is to show successful research. This means guaranteed research and nothing risky.
Many scientists have turned to the DoD, which has a fairly large research budget. The DoD is much more likely to fund innovative and novel research (think DARPA). But, these funds are also being cut.
It is a very bleak time for all science fields in the US. We are quickly losing our place in the world as leaders in these fields. Smart, young scientists are leaving the field, while older more established scientists (less novel?) retain the majority of the funding. I am not optimistic about the futur of science in our country.