Politics of Science


Wow. Not in a while have I been so infuriated as I am after reading the recent bit tiltled “Could the NIH payline be too high?” from Nathan S. Blow of Biotechniques (“From the Editor” piece for Vol 55, No 1, July 2013).

His argument goes like this.

Big lab with lots of funding equals LOTS of articles.

Little lab with not so much funding equals only a FEW articles.

FURTHERMORE, the large labs are more highly “productive” which means the study sections are “doing the ...(read more)



A few people are taking notice: with the sequester, science funding is faltering… badly.

Well, Jim Lantry decided to do something about it. He started a SuperPAC to lobby for science and science funding.

Not being a political insider, the difference between PAC and SuperPAC is lost on me (or, maybe it’s just laziness).

In case you want to look it up, there’s more info on an article here.

He does note the exodus of researchers from the US to other countries as funding becomes ...(read more)

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For many of us, the getting of grants is the one thing expected of us in order to get tenured, promoted, and recognized.

Yet this function that is at the very heart of expectations for us, is one for which:

The odds of success are remote.  Not quite as remote as being struck by lightning, but almost. The actual training provided in this vital skill is minimal. We’re expected to be like “concert pianists” in grant writing, and somehow a few occasional seminars ...(read more)



I got a lot of great comments on my last post about the growing anti-science sentiment. Instead of writing another post, I decided to record my reactions in the First Ever, Science and Grant Podcast!

It’s going to take a few days to get this set up as an actual podcast you can find on iTunes (look for that later in the week), but you can listen to it right here by clicking on the player above.

Some of the questions I ...(read more)



“The anti-science sentiment is entirely the fault of well-funded Koch brothers and people like them.”

I was helping out with the petition to get Obama’s attention on the issue of biomedical research funding.  Amongst the flurry of emails, I got one that said essentially this:


“I’m trying to get people to sign this petition, but some people are pushing back because they’re not really sure of the value of science.”  The email then went on to point to this article that discussed ...(read more)