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Monday, November 28, 2011

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When Sullivan says "Of course, plenty of research is done for specific useful goals - as in protease inhibitors by, say, drug companies. But basic scientific research - the kind done at the NIH because no private funder would be interested - remains engaged in finding out truth for its own sake", he's not 100% right. All NIH grants have a section on 'Significance' which typically refers to the significance of the proposed research for human health concerns. (The NSF does fund research purely for advancement of knowledge).

To further Jon's point, Francis Collins has made it a primary directive that research funded by NIH have a strong translational bent. Much of the noise brought out during his tenure is about the basic sciences are being strangled because of that demand. (I have a front seat to this skirmish because the frau is a PI in an Ivy League school, doing, you guessed it, basic research.)
Fair or not, Sullivan is out of his league in this discussion, and simply doesn't know when to say "Oops, mea culpa."

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