University College London (UCL), which last year linkurl:announced; plans to award unorthodox research grants without robust peer review, deadlines, directives, or milestones, has linkurl:chosen; its first awardee -- a biochemist who will study the evolutionary switch from simple to more complex cellular structures. The researcher, linkurl:Nick Lane,; was deemed worthy of the funding, called the Venture Research Prize, not by a panel of peer reviewers, but by visiting UCL earth sciences professor (and creator of the award) linkurl:Don Braben; and UCL vice-provost for research linkurl:David Price.; After evaluating the submitted proposals, Braben and Price passed along a short list to UCL provost linkurl:Malcolm Grant,; who made the final decision. (The awards are available to UCL staff in any discipline.) Lane, who is also a science writer, book author, and past linkurl:contributor; to __The Scientist__, said in his winning proposal that he will switch "the emphasis in the evolution of complexity...

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