Funding and Orwell

Sami Kohan skohan at ucla.edu
Fri Dec 29 20:48:19 EST 1995


In article <4bv270$135n at itssrv1.ucsf.edu> Bert Gold, bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
writes:
>WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING.  THERE IS A CRISIS GOING ON.
>

Perhaps. Being an undergrad that plans to make a career of research, I
can't comment on availability of funds etc, but I hope to provide a
somewhat outside view.

a. When was the last time more central control provide better results. If
so, the Soviet Union or our major urban public school system our to be
paradise.  Entitlements are only going to insure that many bad labs get
more funding than they need. 

b. What is the point of tenure in science? At my university you can see
many profs who have barely functional labs that don't do much but take up
space and money that could be used for younger investigators. In any
place other than academia they would have been fired or forced to lay-off
long ago.

c. Why is competetion necessarily bad? Granted it makes life for
scientist harder but can you imagine another system where the
consumers(namely the public and congress) could get more bang for their
buck? 

e. Instead of having grant proposals based on what you plan to do(which
is how I understand things are done now, but I could be wrong on this
point) why not have it reviewed on the totality of your work in the last
funding period? 

f. Given the fact that it is unreasonable to expect exponential growth of
Federal R&D money, isn't it true that any changes anyone here suggest,
would only have modest effects?



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