According to the editors at Scientific American, the research funding system is "broken," particularly as most "scientists spend too much time raising cash instead of doing experiments." SciAm says that in the current funding climate, applying for grant money is quite the time sink. "In 2007, a US government study found that university faculty members spend about 40 percent of their research time navigating the bureaucratic labyrinth, and the situation is no better in Europe," SciAm says. In order to fix the problem, the editors suggest that federal funding agencies ought to "fund people rather than projects," much in the way the Howard Hughes Medical Institute does. Indeed, SciAm continues, the UK's Wellcome Trust "is now shifting to a similar system." In order to keep pace, the editors suggest that, among other things, NIH expand its HHMI-esque Pioneer Award Program considerably. "Fixing the system can no longer be put off," they write.
Fix the System
Apr 26, 2011