Uncertainty is ubiquitous, and an inherent feature of scientific research. Scientists are therefore used to dealing with uncertainty. Those making decisions in society are much less comfortable with uncertainty since they need to be accountable to a public, who is often averse to the unknown. Things become even more complex when uncertain is associated with risks faced by society. This leads to question how modern societies can come to reasonable decisions, norms, regulations and measures to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and risk. Read more [...]
The research ecosystem is in constant evolution. Funding policy tools, however, have not evolved as fast as the research activity itself. At the macroscopic scale, the policy shaping the way research funding is allocated could be improved by gaining more precise evidence-base of the potential effect of policy choices in achieving desired research objectives. Indeed, the science underpinning the research funding policy—also known as the science of science policy—is in infancy. Read more [...]
Peer-review of projects dominates when it comes to decision on how to allocate funding for science. But is it really the best way? Funders certainly think so. Over 95% of biomedical funding in the UK, for example, relied on peer-review grant allocations, a 2012 report found. In the absence of tried and tested alternative, peer review has become the default solution. But there is a clear demand for new and less onerous ways of funding research. Read more [...]
Adriano Henney has been pursuing his interest in Systems Biology, as programme manager for a major German national flagship programme: the Virtual Liver Network (VLN).In this exclusive interview he shares his views on alternative ways of organising research funding based on his experience with the unique funding and management structure of the VLN. He also talks about ways of possibilities of applying alternative research funding approaches at the EU level. Read more [...]
A recipe for how to stimulate breakthrough research would include the following ingredients: long-term commitments, large flexible grants, trust, and the funding body’s continuing interest in the research. This is precisely the approach that the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF) has adopted with its ‘Centres of Excellence’ concept, over the past 22 years. The foundation’s core activity is to fund frontline research in highly creative environments. By recognising and trusting the talent of top researchers, the foundation expects them to deliver potentially ground breaking results. Read more [...]
A recent petition seeking government support to establish more permanent jobs and to limit the number of short term contracts in science and technology positions in Germany has already gathered over 10,000 signatures. It was initiated on 7th March 2014 by a German scientist called Sebastian Raupach, who wrote a letter addressed to the vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, and to the country’s federal minister for education and research, Johanna Wanke. This petition reflects the growing unrest among scientists regarding the limited career path in Germany.
Read more [...]
Bad behaviour is omnipresent in science. It encompasses everything from outright scientific fraud, such as falsifying data, to other misconducts like cherry-picking data, favourable-looking images and graphs, and drawing conclusions that are not backed up by the actual facts. Overall, it matters more serious than keeping a sloppy lab notebook that no-one else can follow. This raises the deeper question: what drives scientists to behave in such a way? Read more [...]
Novel online research tools pop up constantly and they are slowly but surely finding their way into research culture. A culture that grew after the first scientific revolution some 300 years ago and that has brought humanity quite far is on the verge of its second profound metamorphosis. It is likely that the way that researchers publish, assesses impact, communicate, and collaborate will change more within the next 20 years than it did in the last 200. Read more [...]
Sascha Friesike is a researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, in Berlin, Germany. His research interests are innovation and creativity, He currently leads a research group called Open Science, which represents a new approach towards research, knowledge and its dissemination. In this exclusive interview to the EuroScientist, he shares his views on how is the current research is changing, due to the influences of the internet.
Read more [...]
Open innovation is often suggested as a solution to enhance productivity in under-performing areas of research. Now, the strengths and weaknesses of a new open innovation model in drug discovery have been evaluated. Our evaluation focuses on the model adopted by the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), a public-private, open access, not-for-profit organisation created in 2004. Read more [...]
Innovation can be broadly defined as taking new ideas profitably to market. The aspect of novelty is material to it, but so is the financial reward to successful inventors and entrepreneurs. In competitive markets, it is natural that private firms traditionally have preferred to safeguard their position by keeping innovation projects in house as much as possible. Read more [...]