One problem is that federal grants, especially those from the NSF and the NIH, typically support work that the reviewers of grant applications believe will produce immediate, important results. Successful grants tend to focus on manageable questions generally recognized as key within the current paradigms of a discipline. They seldom involve innovative science or tackle deeply challenging questions that might turn out not to have answers, even though such risky approaches could well lead to vital new knowledge.This seems to me a natural result of the political process reflecting the public's skepticism of good new ideas.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Steven Peck in CHE writes: