The insanity of research grant proposals

Daniel Lemire, Aug 05, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Short cynical commentary (and a secret formula) on funding for research. Daniel Lemire writes, "I do not care what kind of research you do: a predictable breakthrough is no breakthrough at all. The good scientists always have speculative ideas. Sometimes these ideas come out of nowhere, in the moment. Most of these ideas are very bad… but a few represent the real breakthroughs. And that is what research is really about. Trial and error on a massive scale." Related, an Ottawa Citizen column calls for a refocus of research funding priorities, and Academica reports, that despite an increased focus on government financing for corporate research in Canada, we're seeing "a decline from 9.6% in 2000-01 to 8.1% in 2012-13."

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