28 June 2009

It's all in the journey...

This article in today's NY Times, "Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers to Play It Safe" brings to mind something Noam Chomsky, of all people, said about research funding when he visited Central Connecticut State University a few years ago. Essentially he said that the US Defense Department is one of the best of funders of all because it lets experts research and develop what they themselves find interesting and important -- because, until that research is pursued, the DOD can never know what might wind up being immensely helpful to the military.

Granted it may end up being used in ways completely alien to how the researchers intended, but the more restrictions placed upon research at the beginning the less innovative that research almost, by necessity, will be in the end.

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