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View Diary: The New Cancer Treatment Republicans Should Refuse (10 comments)

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  •  It's not a racket (3+ / 0-)
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    Roadbed Guy, lemming22, jenafer

    Because it's also a way of funneling public money into basic research that can be done in a neutral intellectual environment and be reviewed by other scientists who are also detached from immediate profit motive.  This ensures that the scientific fundamentals are sound and fairly free of bias (and I assure you, my colleagues and I take impartial peer review very, very seriously, so counterexamples are few and far between).  Most of the federally funded scientists I know are relentlessly ethical, and consider data practically sacred.  If private companies were the only source of funding for research this would likely not be the case (and I'd be looking for a job in a nation that does fund basic research).

    •  Oh, I'm not picking on (0+ / 0-)

      the researchers.  As you say, obvious cases of collusion are very rare.  I'm picking on the fact that more and more universities are getting in bed with big business, because of the money.  That's not a problem with the researchers at all.  They don't make these deals; the universities do.

      A problem today is that government funds for basic research are getting scarcer, proportionately.  Private industry is stepping in to fill the gap, but that creates conflicts of interests.  And I do think that the main reason public funds are drying up is that we've been under Republican administrations or Congresses for a long, long time, and it's intentional: if we constrain public funding, then it provides business opportunities instead of research opportunities.

      Je suis inondé de déesses

      by Marc in KS on Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 06:05:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I work at a "business friendly" university (0+ / 0-)

        Every now and then I get to sit down and chat with some nice industry people and tell them what I'm doing.  There's usually some half-decent wine on hand, too.  Then they go away scratching their heads, and I keep on doing exactly what the NIH funded me to do on the strength of my application.

        There's not a whole lot of pressure to do anything you aren't interested in, except maybe to file IP disclosures.  It's really not that bad out here.

        Except the scarcity of funding.  That's bad.  But the NIH and NSF haven't lost as much as they could have, and actually that's due to pressure from business.  They know that if we didn't do the basic research they'd have to somehow do it themselves and they don't want to take that on, generally.  The applications don't come without the basic research.

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