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Can Long Term Research Survive the Coming Age of Austerity? 306

Hugh Pickens writes "Alexis Madrigal writes that everyone agrees you need science and technology R&D, but when budgets get tight, research into quantum dots or the fundamental forces that cause earthquakes has a hard time holding the line against health care or tax cuts for the richest Americans. Different countries are taking different approaches. Japan is focusing on its most elite researchers, giving up to $50 million to 30 different people. Other countries are just giving up on some areas of research to focus on others; for example, US particle physicists who will spend their careers trying to drive from the backseat as our European counterparts run the Large Hadron Collider. A third approach might be to reduce redundancies in research. 'An idea to provide funding in a larger number of key areas that would avoid duplication is to create dedicated research centers where several investigators can work in parallel on complementary topics,' writes Joerg Heber. "If we do less research we need to do it right. And using this crisis to think about our research infrastructure needn't be a bad thing. It should be seen as an opportunity to reform the academic research system in a more comprehensive and fundamental way than the academic community and the politicians normally dare to think about.'"
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Can Long Term Research Survive the Coming Age of Austerity?

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  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @04:20PM (#36815608)

    >Alt-Med has been growing like gangbusters, its popularity at an all time high: it must work.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    It's only popular because people like you have been able to dress your snake oil up in white coats and "professional" language. It's marketing.

    >Mark my words.

    I've marked your words, and underneath I've written "raving loony."

    You should be sued into the ground. Indeed, if a single person has died because you discouraged him or her from seeking actual effective treatment in time, you should be charged with manslaughter, at a minimum.


  • Re:yea uhhhh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @07:27PM (#36817414)

    Government doesn't ever realize a black hole of research because the researcher will always say "A break through is immanent", just to get the next grant for the next ten years, until he can retire. Private enterprise, as much as the left wing hates it, knows when and how to cut research that is a dead end.

    Wrong. Private enterprise simply doesn't invest in research, unless it's something that's basically a guaranteed win that'll return a profit in 5 years or less. Private companies never do fundamental research, because it costs too much and if it does result in profit, it won't be for decades. Companies used to do more of this, back in the 50s-60s, but look at one of the main companies that did this: Bell Labs. Bell was a giant telecom monopoly that had to spend some of their money on something that looked good so government regulators wouldn't mess with them, so they created Bell Labs and put a bunch of people to work chasing their dreams and inventing Unix and C.

    The days of a single telecom monopoly are gone, and I don't think anyone wants to return to the days of being required to lease your phone at a high price and pay by the minute.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.