Business Earmarks or Merit Competition: Which is the Better Federal Research Strategy?

Investments by governments to support research and development are crucial to economic prosperity, job creation, scientific advancement, and improvements to the future to be inherited by children. How should these investments be selected? Merit review is a competitive process leveraging the expertise of a specially qualified panel to direct investments in research and development. Earmarks are appropriations given to specific recipients or targeted areas, without competition, to satisfy the intent of government.
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Innovation and the Disrespect of Scientific Invention

“Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society. Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a new idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself.” Dean Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Business, an iThinker pondering Canada’s innovation gap, writes in a recent op-ed piece that “The first lesson is that commercial success and impact is more about innovation than about invention.
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Rotman Dean to Government: Give the basic research funding to business schools not scientists

Dean Roger Martin’s remarks in the Globe and Mail yesterday threaten Canada’s intellectual infrastructure and therefore merit the attention of all Canadians, especially policymakers planning the upcoming federal budget and researchers in Canada’s universities. Amazingly, he asserts: “What makes a country prosperous is not investment in science and technology. It is businesses producing high paying jobs by having unique products and processes that a customer needs.” Who does he think creates those products and processes?
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Confronting Bias in Hiring Committees

Jennifer Berdahl of the Rotman School of Management recently shared some slides with me that I thought should be more widely circulated among mathematicians. This presentation was created by MIT Professors Barbara Liskov and JoAnne Yates and is based on materials compiled by Abby Stewart for the University of Michigan’s STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) Committee. There are a lot of links to interesting materials on the STRIDE page such as guidelines about how to write a recommendation letter, and discussion on the advancement of women in science careers.
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