I fully agree with T.V. Rajan's Commentary on funding.1 Regrettably, he is also right about being a hopeless 19th-century romantic. This is because he and many others like him, including me, do not possess the influence to change the trend that has afflicted science and its funding for the past two decades: commercialism.

As in other domains where public funds are used, those in charge of these funds believe that their foremost responsibility is to show a fast and hefty return on their investments. A descriptive study is not a good return. Even a hypothesis-driven study is not a good return anymore. In today's atmosphere, a grant application better propose a vaccine against a virus of which the infection mechanism is yet to be understood, or a treatment for a disorder not yet fully elucidated--a proposal with an outcome of commercial value.

Thus, the scientist of today is measured...

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