Basic Funding: to Keith Robison

William Tivol tivol at
Wed Dec 13 17:25:13 EST 1995

Keith Robison (robison at wrote:

: : Glad that you mentioned the latter. This is actually the
: : prime reason why ideas like sliding scale are fiercely opposed 
: : and the "selectivity" model is insisted upon. If the system
: : will provide small grants to many more (who are presently
: : unfunded) it will soon become evident that many of them can
: : do a lot of good research on small budgets. 

: Of course (I happen be one such person).  But, it also means a lot
: of work can simply not be done.  Some lines of research have real
: costs associated with them -- lab animals, reagents, rockets to
: the moon, etc.  It may be a worthwhile tradeoff, but to dismiss
: it out-of-hand (as you have done repeatedly) is intellectually
: either naive or dishonest.  

Dear Keith,
	You have hit on one reason I have suggested that additional monies
over-and-above small basic grants should be connected to ideas (projects).
The one disagreement Alex & I have is that he argues that those researchers
with the best track records should get extra $$ regardless of what their
projects are--just let them investigate where their minds and previous re-
sults take them.  BTW there is a clear case where a line of research simply
cannot be done--the superconducting super-collider.
	An intermediate position would be to fund core facilities for many
researchers for lab animals and space shuttles, and then fund researchers
according to track record.  I, myself, do my work within a biotechnological
resource funded by NIH to be used by both in-house and outside researchers.
Anyone with a project which requires our facilities can come and use them
for free (of course, the researcher must pay travel and food/lodging costs,
but we can do preliminary investigating before this to see if the project
will be acceptibly served by the resource).
				Bill Tivol

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