Reliance On Grants

Recently I have noticed an interesting trend in the pages of The Scientist. Recognizing that the government plays an important role in their future, scientists are beginning to mobilize for greater involvement in the political process. In many ways, this can only be seen as a positive step. There is one aspect of this growing trend that troubles me, however. Whether it was the story on communicating with Congress by Robert Finn [page 14], the commentary by Raymond DuBois [page 10], or the lett

Matthew Mcdonald
Oct 27, 1996

Recently I have noticed an interesting trend in the pages of The Scientist. Recognizing that the government plays an important role in their future, scientists are beginning to mobilize for greater involvement in the political process. In many ways, this can only be seen as a positive step.

There is one aspect of this growing trend that troubles me, however. Whether it was the story on communicating with Congress by Robert Finn [page 14], the commentary by Raymond DuBois [page 10], or the letter by Eliot Brinton [page 11] (all published in the Sept. 16, 1996, issue of The Scientist), many seem to view greater government funding as the panacea for these competitive times.

Although government-funded research has been the hallmark of the last few decades, relying too heavily on grants is dangerous. Many in the United States feel that the economy is healthy and growing,...

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