Res.Funding & Political Slogans

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed Dec 6 16:06:55 EST 1995

On Wed, 6 Dec 1995, William Tivol wrote:

> Dear Alex,
> 	I have seen your posts previously, and I agree with your points
> (except that I still favor evaluating projects, even without the inves-
> tigator's name attached, as a means to lessen the "who you know" component).
> I just posted the short note to point out that it is far from hopeless to
> open a dialog between groups of scientists and govt reps.  It should be
> even easier if the reps are told that the group of scientists is *not*
> going to be begging for more money!
> 				Yours,
> 				Bill Tivol

Dear Bill:
Evaluating the "projects" or "people" - we can argue days and
nights on this. I personally beleive that a system which combines 
both aspects (Don Forsdyke, somewhat cumbersome, called it
"bicameral review") is potentially the least error prone. 
There are several ways how it can operate in practice.

However, all this is of a rather little use to the politicains
unless they hear from us something which THEY can relate to 
in THIER mode of thinking and THEIR scale of values (despite
all the cinicism, they DO have such a scale). I believe,
the university research community should strive to work out 
such slogan-like messages. There is no shame in applying 
slogans and/or rethorics as this is essentially the only way 
to achieve anything on the political end.

So, my personal offering of the bottom-line message to the
politicians is (at least as far as the university-based 
research is concerned):

"With applying sliding-scale ranking of university researchers, 
rather than evaluating 'proposals' on a yes-no basis, you (the
politicians) will achieve singnificantly more efficient, and
ballanced and self-regulating research activity for SIGNIFICANTLY 
LESS money spend on it. Sliding scale in not a scientific
welfare but simply a mechanism to optimize the yield of the 
university research enterprize which the present  
overcompetitive system based on the false notion of the 
research 'excellence' fails to do".

(this is a bit too long, but as somebody said, 'sorry for a
long letter, I just don't have time to write a shorter one).  
I encourage other readers to perfect the message(s) further.

Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
Department of Engineering Physics
McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546


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