Mad Cows and Funding of Controvesials

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed Apr 3 12:07:38 EST 1996

On Wed, 3 Apr 1996, Gavin Fischer wrote:

> BUT- you have to agree that if everyone thought 
> he [ Pruisner - AB] was a crackpot he would not have 
> <funding. The system does support people that are doing
> controversial things, and this is a very good example 
> of it. 

I am afraid that your conjecture that the 'system 
does support people that are doing controversial 
things' is not sustainable under any serious scrutiny. 
And you may well change your opinion on this issue
should you decide stay in ('academic') research for 
for any significant period (unless you will be 
extermely lucky to make it quickly to the control
elite). For my 25-plus years in science my observation 
is that support for controversial ideas happen only 
as a matter of exception, and certainly not as a main 
rule of the NSERC/NIH/MRC/... 'peer review' process.

(In short, SOME controversial research SOMETIME 
[ luckily ] gets funded IN-SPITE of the system,
rather than because of it ].

For as long as the major principle of the system
('funding selectivity' and winners-loosers principle)
is not moderated by carefully desugned sliding scale,
the oppressive character of the present funding
system and marginalization of innovative ideas 
is bound to continue. 

Alex Berezin

[ discussin on Molecular Biology removed ]  

> Gavin Fischer
> gfischer at
> (617)638-7535

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