08 May 2006

Knowledge and science funding

Those of you who may be interested in the 721 essay 3 topic on knowledge might like to look at the recent statement from Steve Maharey on science funding. (Hit the Beehive link on the right, and select Steve from the list of Ministers to find his recent statements etc.)

He has announced a new funding model that would have less emphasis on contestability and provide more long-term certainty and consistency of funding for well-performing science programmes and institutions. This will especially welcome, I imagine, for Crown Research Institutes. Contestability is supposed to increase efficiency and quality. But good science requires long-term efforts with stable employment for top researchers. The contestability model has the unfortunate effect of forcing CRIs to use fixed-term employment and to tie up lots of their time in filling out funding application forms (and let me assure you that applying for public-good science funding is a very very time-consuming process). I used to wonder if some university would eventually offer a new degree called a Masters of Funding Applications (MFA) to reflect the present reality of what scientists actually have to do.

Anyway, this new model is significant not only for that 721 essay topic, but also perhaps for 723 (re funding models generally) and even for 724 (indicating part of the shift away from a purist quasi-market model, preferred in the 1990s). There will still be some contestable funds, of course, but the idea is to provide long-term certainty for institutions that are known to perform well.


At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have thought that an MFA would be what you would do after a BA

mark v


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