Mission and Strategy
Our mission is to improve the funding and practice of science.
Funding agencies should engage in bold experimentation to reduce bureaucracy, fund new ideas, and speed up innovation. Moreover, they should make much more data available so that independent scholars can evaluate the results.
For more on these ideas, read our Statement of Principles (with multiple signatories).
The Good Science Project engages in communications and public advocacy towards these goals. Our theory of change is that communications can affect the course of public debate, and ultimately influence policymakers.
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Reducing Unnecessary Bureaucracy
Federally-funded scientists spend too much of their time waiting to hear whether a proposal was approved, filing bureaucratic reports, etc. We need to streamline practices so that scientists can waste less time jumping through hoops, and spend more time on science.
Too many scientific institutions (whether funding agencies or universities) fall into the same patterns and structures. Scientific innovation is more likely when there is a greater diversity of institutional approaches.
Funding High-Risk, High-Reward Science
Breakthrough scientific ideas have often been unpopular, and can have particular trouble getting funded. We need to experiment with different funding mechanisms and peer review models to see what works, and what might be more open to new ideas.
Goal-directed research (such as a “cancer moonshot”) is often more popular than fundamental, exploratory research. Funders need to ensure that a substantial part of their portfolio goes to fundamental science, which sets the stage for advancement in the future.
Improving Scientific Quality
Too much low-quality science gets funded and published every year. Funding practices can actually create perverse incentives that encourage such work. Funders need to bend over backwards to incentivize good science rather than low-quality science.
Rebalancing the Research Enterprise
There are arguably too many people being trained as graduate students and post-docs compared to the number of academic positions available. At the same time, there are too few career options for people who would be excellent at managing research labs, writing research software, etc. We need to have better calibration between the number of trainees and the amounts and types of research careers available.
May 18, 2023
Building a Better NIH
Overview Editor’s Note: “Building a Better NIH” is a project partnership between the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, […]
April 18, 2023
CDC Reform: Where to Start?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—abbreviated CDC so as to maintain consistency with the original Communicable […]
The NIH Should Reform Funding for Graduate Students and Post-Docs
The NIH sponsors far more biomedical graduate students and post-docs than could ever have a full-time academic […]
March 28, 2023
Why Science Funders Should Try to Learn from Past Experience
Science funding agencies feel political pressure to fund only research that is easy to explain and defend […]
A New NIH Director: What Should We Look For?
By Stuart Buck and Eric Gilliam It’s March 2023. The former National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director […]
March 8, 2023
New Thinking on Peer Review at NIH?
The NIH has called for comments by April 24 on a proposed policy that would streamline peer review of grant proposals. […]