As a layman I will ask a naive question

Susan Jane Hogarth sjhogart at
Sun Sep 22 09:48:48 EST 1996

Mycos wrote:

> [snip]
> What I seem to have a problem with is how research monies
> are allocated, and based on what criteria?
> As you illustrate, I obviously have a bias towards applied research.
> Let me illustrate what I mean. If I were to approach a grant agency
> for money to determine, using indicator plant species analysis or some
> such technique, what areas of the forest, after a prescribed burn,
> would likely yield a rich crop of morels, I would be turned down. When
> I learned that Matsutake are mycorrhizal and that mycorrizae enhance
> the growth of their partner tree, the first thing I thought was: Do
> research on the ability of T. magnivelare to produce a successful
> reforestation project. The beauty of this, in my mind at least, is
> that for many of the years while the trees are maturing towards
> harvest, it wouldn't be lying simply "fallow". The Matsutake could be
> harvested during the interim. Has this been looked at? I doubt it.
> However, if I were apply to map the entire genome of Coprinus
> plicatilus, at huge cost, I would probably be more successful. And to
> what end?

Have you tried getting _either_ of these grants? You might be surprised
at what gets funded and what doesn't. I wonder if you're getting your
idea of fundability through some highly inflated "news" coverage of
science. I think it's pretty inflammatory of you to get riled up about
scientific funding priorities on the basis of a *speculation* of a
refusal for your pet project and a *speculation* of a success for a
proposal of genetic mapping. It's possible that I'm misunderstanding
what you're saying, but based on the above paragraph, you have no reason
to complain. My advice is to try writing a grant and getting refused
*before* you become bitter :-)

One last point - in your original post you say:

>  I have
> probems seeing how some of the disscussins I've seen  here and how it
> is economically valid given some of the more obvious pressing
> problems.

and in your latest post you're talking about research to ensure a good
crop of *morels* or *matsuke*, or whatever... not exactly one of the
world's "more obvious pressing problems".


Her face hangs in portrait 
 on the post-office wall;
She's stuck in my heart now
 where my blood belongs.

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