Talk:Funding of science

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Social Science[edit]

Should this say something about social science research? To what extent would that include thinktanks and foundations (especially where not producing peer-reviewed work)? Rd232 08:48, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Source please[edit]

"Some HGP researchers claimed Celera's method of genome sequencing "would not work," however that project eventually adopted Celera's method." - Source please. Rd232 19:39, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

[1] [2] [3] RJII 22:46, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Free market and libertarian position[edit]

Could you improve the section on merits of free market versus government funding? Could we have a list of significant inventions by public funding and others by private funding please? My suspicion is that most significant advances have arisen or originated from government funded projects and research grants. For example, today's big thing, the Internet, arose as a result of DARPA funding and other public expenditure in places such as Switzerland. Although the media and private enterprise criticizes Chirac for his recent public funding announcement, one must not forget that mini-tel the early French internet was very successful in France, people were dating each other on Minitel some 20 years ago. Amongst the most significant inventions that affect our lives are liquid crystal displays that were invented as a result of significant UK defence government funding. Those who commercialize technology innovate but my sense is that even those in technology such as Microsoft and Apple commercialized an existing invention (windows and the mouse, etc.) that was bigger than any inventions they have come up with subsequently? The most successful commercializations and the richest corporations are not necessarily significant innovators. War was a very significant source of innovations but in peace time I wonder whether the innovations are not mostly generated by government funding? It is also in my view untrue to state that government funding is usually inefficient but my sense is that this perception is created because nobody is motivated to carry out the calculation. Take for example something that was calculated, the commercial spin offs of the heat dissipating tiles of the space shuttle. These were shown to pay off several times the investment and coined the saying that "only scientists can determine investment in science". The idea that the free market will leap us forward with remarkable inventions is suspect really because those who lead large corporations do not take risks with the current source or line of profit, and the system of patent protection is abused by large corporations. I think that the general public cannot appreciate the deep thinking and hard work that takes place to initiate and to prove an idea. Ideas get commercialized once they are proved and therefore the generation of ideas has to originate in public projects. It is very hard to expect that private funding will speculate large amounts of funding on risky projects. The problem resides in that the value of whatever is generated cannot be estimated. The new idea may seem worthless until a different application is found. A classic illustration happened a few years back with deCODE. Some US pharmaceutical firm had taken a drug all the way down the FDA tests but the drug was ineffective and deCODE bought it cheaply because they figured out that the drug was more effective for another common complex disorder (mycrocardial infarction). So taking risks on an idea with private funding is very risky and someone completely different may profit with impunity (it goes beyond patent laws). It would be interesting to see some numbers as to the major inventions and whether government funding is as ineffective as the libertarians claim. We have a mixed system that we should cherish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:13, 30 April 2006

It's easy to point to valuable things that were created that were financed by taxation, but you can't see the things that would have been created if that wealth was left in private economy and invested in projects that were driven by the profit-motive and satisfying consumer wants. It's quite possible that things of more value to society would have been created with that wealth. That's a fundamental problem with such a comparison. You can't see the things whose creation was prevented. Central authority determined for society how society must use its wealth, rather than allowing society to decide for itself through voluntary investment seeking to satisfy consumer wants and needs. RJII 01:32, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it is not wise to classify government-funded research as non-profit and private-funded research as for profit. This is typically, but not always so. The argument of private-funded research being more efficient than government-funded research in the current form can not be justified.
If there is no obvious market and no clear business model or making a profit the for-profit approach is counterproductive, since the inherent risk of making money from the results of the research is extremely high and is best shared among the whole society. This roughly means that research is best conducted in a non-profit mode, whether governmental or private. If there is a clear market and a profit to be made on the market a for-profit approach is usually more efficient. Such is the case with development. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Potentially of interest are the writings and lectures of University of Buckingham Vice-Chancellor Terence Kealey, an outspoken critic of public funding of science. For example, he gave this talk at Christ Church in 2009. -- SpareSimian (talk) 10:34, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

I see no mention of crowd-sourcing like kickstarter or prize rewards such as the X Prize for space flight as part of this article. It would be good to update with new types of funding that became possible due to current technology.

recent edits on government & private funding[edit]

The arguments need sources DGG 19:19, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

This section, especially the last paragraph about the human genome project needs sources and a general re-write-- if for any reason the fact that their discussion of the public vs private fails to even give a tenth of informatino regarding the two gene sequencing attempts. A quick example: the private company actually used the publically available info from the government to actually put together their sequences, that's a large part of what made it so easy for them and was a huge point of contention when they then turned around and tried to patent all the info.

Really this example is just all kinds of useless. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 30 March 2010 (UTC)


Please, reconsider the examples mentioning quantum mechanics (or I'll do it myself), they are silly. There is no identifiable vector: "nature of quantum mechanics". There is Quantum Mechanics, the underlying theory for the semiconductor technology (not just a "microchip"), 100% of the nuclear physics, superconductivity and superfluidity, lasers, etc. What was rather theoretical in the '20, became engineeering. I acknowledge the good intentions and <<l'esprit>> of the Author, but the phrasing should be more serious.

Rapakivi (talk) 13:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Merge in "funding body"[edit]

I am very much against merging in Funding body, as there are many types of funding bodies that are not about research. Two examples are scholarships (non research related) and art grants. John Vandenberg 05:23, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I am also opposed to the merge. They are two very different sorts of articles, both important. How research is to be funded in general is one topic, and the organizations which fund it is another. (And for VV's reasons as well)DGG 06:33, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I, too, oppose, a merger. Evolauxia 20:56, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Comment Removing merge templates --Lox (t,c) 19:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

More work on the research funding process[edit]

I'm going to start a section on the process involved with funding research with grants, i.e., grant proposals, grant writing, grant board reviews, etc. It is a often shadowy world that needs some good wikipedian description. Rhetth (talk) 23:28, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Good section, but there's no citations. Looks like Nature journal is private about their journal and doesn't have any direct links, but there's a washington post article regarding what seems to be the same survey. Can we just tag it on the last sentence? Here's the article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:20, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Science policy reorganization[edit]

I'd like to call your attention to Talk:Science policy, where there is discussion on the relationship between that article and this one. Specifically, there is a proposal to move this article to Funding of science. Antony–22 (talk/contribs) 05:35, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

This article has been moved from Research funding to Funding of science, since its present scope doesn't include non-science funding. Note that there was another article at "Funding of science" which was previously moved to History of science policy. Antony–22 (talk/contribs) 05:49, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

ISR&D definition?[edit]

Maybe I'm missing it, but I don't see a definition posted for "ISR&D", the heading of the second coloumn of the chart, I have never heard that term before and I can't find it anywhere in a quick google search. Presumably it's independent spending on research & development? Or maybe it's I-something Science Research & Development? It's certainly unclear. Does anyone know?

I came here to say the same thing. WHAT THE FUCK IS IT!? The ref link is dead, and googling has done me no good.~~

I also have no idea what ISR&D is and could not figure it out with a google search. I think the best way to find out would be to find the source of the statistics in the table. Unfortunately, the sources have not been provided. I suggest that the table be removed if the sources are not given soon. Rectipaedia (talk) 03:03, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

I removed the table because the source was not cited. Rectipaedia (talk) 17:09, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

This page should focus less on opinions and anecdotes and more on statistics.[edit]

One could find any number of anecdotal examples like the genome research example to support either side of the public vs. private funding debate. I do not feel this is useful for the reader and further it can easily mislead them.

I think the readers would be much better served by an article which focused more on statistics and a historic account of scientific funding.

A dedicated section to the debate about public vs. private funding might be useful but it should not be the focus of this article.

I've never edited a Wikipedia article before, I'm not sure how exactly to proceed. I thought it would be best to just add something to the discussion section and see what response I receive.

Expanding on the government funding table would be of interest to readers I believe.

-Break down the spending by department -Break down the spending by the type of project

Both of these require some thought. We could make some generalized departments which would apply to any nation ie. Military, Energy, Transportation, Education, Science/Research. Breaking down the "type of project" statistically might be more difficult. Since we are not going to conduct surveys on our own, we will have to be flexible and adjust our presentation to the type of data that we can access.

A similar analysis of private funding would be ideal but I am not sure how feasible it would be?

I just wanted to start the discussion and see if other involved felt that this article could use a complete overhaul. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wuilwong (talkcontribs) 14:31, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments! Please feel free to plunge in and edit the article if you think you can make any improvements. The entire series of science policy articles is rather incomplete and could use some expansion. I can help if you have any questions about contributing.
Breaking down the table by category as well as by country would require finding a source that contains that information. It might take some research, but that sounds like the sort of thing that should exist somewhere, perhaps in a report from a government agency or NGO. Perhaps the National Academies has something like that? Antony–22 (talkcontribs) 04:35, 21 July 2012 (UTC)