‘Small’ Vs ‘Big’ science

A recent and really very nice paper in PLOS ONE (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0065263#authcontrib) investigates the issue of whether funding correlates with increased scientific impact.  The study finds that impact is positively correlates with funding but only very weakly and the authors suggest a better strategy would be to target diversity rather than ‘excellence’.  Given the current economic climate the natural instinct is to protect ‘big science’ as the notion is that this is a safer bet, may be fundamentally flawed and what would be better to stimulate innovation is to give less to more people.  In particular I believe the scientific youth are most likely to thrive on the independence small amounts of funding brings and therefore some funding should be targeted to this sector to stop frustrated young researchers leaving.

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