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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Misaligned Incentives in Canadian Science Policy

Budget 2012 continues to shift Canadian federal investment away from basic research toward industrial applied research. This shift is politically expedient: the redirection of funds can be discussed with tantalizing justifications based on job creation, targeted investment, streamlining discovery, and so forth. The shift resonates with a public concerned about frivolous expenditures of dollars collected through taxation. The late Senator from Wisconsin, William Proxmire, advanced this line of political rhetoric by issuing Golden Fleece Awards for science projects he lampooned as unworthy of government investment.
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