October 4, 2022
“Too many countries have built a research pipeline that venerates prizes and papers above all else. People and their problems get left out as scientists chase novelty and the prestige it brings. For many years, I was complicit. I oversaw basic research programmes across the US Department of Defense, determined to make sure that the United States led in science. Eventually, I realized it was equally important that research programmes lead towards tangible benefits: better national security, regional floodplain management, or a product or practice that results in better, safer lives.
Too often, in my experience, the more applied a proposal is, the less likely it is to be funded. Once a researcher finishes a project and publishes the paper, they simply go on to the next proposal — the next big, new idea, constantly chasing novelty, the bleeding edge of science. What a waste.”Back to Library