As a reviewer for the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in 2007, Science editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts says that his pile of applications contained "bold, original ideas" and that "at least 4 of my 35 should have been funded." None were, he adds. Alberts says that this grant award and similar ones focused on innovation "make a big difference to those who receive them. But there are far too few to change the culture for scientists starting new labs," he writes. "Most remain unwilling to take the risk of pursuing ambitious ideas, recognizing that extensive preliminary results will be required to obtain funding from a traditional study section." At Adaptive Complexity, Michael White adds: "We need to overhaul the way bread-and-butter R01's get evaluated, so that near-certain feasibility is not the top criterion for funding."
Bruce Alberts on Innovation
Dec 02, 2009