listserv messages

Posted by Susan Fitzpatrick on 04/13/2017 - 07:43
I have realized my broadside about my hopes that the academic research community will play it straight even in these threatening times might have been misconstrued as a direct criticism of the Stine and Wagner piece because I responded using a post out of sequence.    I meant it as a more general cautionary note in response to the general messages I have heard coming out – it was triggered more by the “like Beer; like Science” quote than anything else.    (Although, personally, I think there is a lot of science in beer!) .   Susan M. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.President, James S. McDonnell... [Read more]  

Posted by jobs on 04/13/2017 - 11:51
Outreach Specialist 18 month Temporary Position Union of Concerned Scientists Washington, DChttp://www.ucsusa.org/about/jobs-ucs#csdoutreachspec Do you want to help build a movement to promote the role of science in government decision making on critical public health, environmental, and public safety issues? The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is seeking an independent, creative organizer to help us build infrastructure that will make federal government science and scientists... [Read more]  

Posted by Deborah Stine on 04/12/2017 - 18:47
Greetings everyone,   Caroline Wagner and I have a new op-ed up on “The Hill” website  -- Cuts to scientific research portend a lost generation of innovation  http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/328565-cuts-to-scientific-research-portend-a-lost-generation-of   I thought you might like to see it, and the idea for it came out of the discussion on this listserve a few weeks ago.    Please pass... [Read more]  
Replied by James Gover on 04/12/2017 - 14:33
Deborah,These very high level endorsements are fine, but incomplete. In the case of research, the devil is in the details. Keep in mind that the majority of federal R&D is sponsored by or conducted by mission driven institutions. For example, lets assume that DOE gives research grants to Ford to develop electric vehicle technology.  This raises the questions: Why does the taxpayer pay a portion of Ford's research? If DOE funds a portion of Ford's research, should it also fund similar amounts of research at GM and Chrysler? And perhaps, Toyota, Honda, BMW, Daimler, Hyundai and... [Read more]  
Replied by Eugene Arthurs on 04/12/2017 - 21:48
Dear Debbie,   Before I comment on your article, let me say that I am strongly opposed to cuts in investment in science, though I do believe there is considerable scope to improve this spending of taxpayers money.   I have always liked to see the Pew data on the public’s support for science. It was not until recently that the important questions on the public’s priorities for spending taxpayers’ money were asked. Science was clearly a top area to cut, if cuts were necessary.  We have a lot of work to do to change the perception of science as a... [Read more]  
Replied by Sam Weiss EVANS on 04/12/2017 - 16:14
Thanks for sharing this, Deborah. I think it is a strong statement supporting funding scientific research, but I have to admit I’m conflicted about the polarization in the argument, and the lack of any statement about how this could be a chance to think about *how* we spend taxpayer money as well as *how much* we spend.  I can totally see how the argument needs to be clear and concise for this audience, and how these are still opening salvos in the slog to sort out the budget. I just wonder if we are holding our cards a little too close to our chest. If we are pointing the... [Read more]  
Replied by Godin, Benoît on 04/12/2017 - 19:05
I totally agree with Eugene. Apart from scientists’ representative organizations, very few people today hold a discourse on science and research as the originator of innovations. The link is a lot more complicated than that and the empirical evidence quite inconclusive. Scientists do not help their cause at all in continuing to support a century years old discourse on a kind of linear model. The discourse on innovation of the last decades has led to the marginalization of research in public policies and public funding, and it would only get worse if scientists do not renew their own... [Read more]  
Replied by Chris Newfield on 04/13/2017 - 06:17
on the same topic, I have an article in today's Inside Higher Ed arguing why a public-goods framework is the only thing that will save research funding.  http://bit.ly/2nHyzjlwith best wishes, ChrisOn Apr 13, 2017, at 4:05 AM, Godin, Benoît <Benoit.Godin@UCS.INRS.CA> wrote:I totally agree with Eugene. Apart from scientists’ representative organizations, very few people today hold a discourse on science and research as the originator of innovations. The link is a lot more... [Read more]  
Replied by Holbrook, James on 04/13/2017 - 04:21
Colleagues,That's a really well-argued piece, Chris! I wonder whether a complementary strategy on the level of individual universities might also be in order (that is, having universities aim to make better connections with their local communities to demonstrate concrete cases of the abstract notion of the public good).Caroline and Debbie, I enjoyed reading your piece, as well. I agree that the proposed cuts would have disastrous consequences. However, I also agree with Eugene and Ben. Even if we can find -- and we can -- many examples of scientific research preceding societal... [Read more]  
Replied by Caroline Wagner on 04/13/2017 - 08:32
Dear SciSIP friends, These are great thoughts – keep in mind that US S&T funding is more likely to be increased in response to threats of being overtaken by others (Sputnik, Japan, Germany, now China) than it is to respond to the promise of general welfare or eventual social goods. Caroline     [Read more]  
Replied by David Stone on 04/13/2017 - 04:55
All,Nicholas Kristof has a useful column in today’s Times that bears on our discussion. The immediate concern – Tom Price’s proposal – requires tactical action, as did the ACA replacement effort last month. Newfield is right in the long run, as are Evans and Arthurs, but I would double down on Britt’s suggestion of staying local. Following the advice in the Kristof column, there is no time to bring the public back around to the positions we would seek to advocate, but almost every member of congress has a university in their district, and for all of them, the case can be made in very... [Read more]  
Replied by Deborah Stine on 04/13/2017 - 10:02
Good morning everyone,                 I must say that as the replies to this piece came in, I chuckled to myself – what in the world did we do to lead to the conceptions people read into this piece.  So, let me say what this piece is NOT:   n  The audience for this piece, in a Capitol Hill “newspaper,”was congressional staff and policymakers, many of whom know little about research, and was not meant for anyone who works in research, particularly those who are scholars in the research process. n  This is not a discussion meant to be... [Read more]  
Building on Britt's idea about local engagement, I'd push the point even further. What's needed is not just a marketing pitch to "demonstrate concrete cases of the abstract notion of the public good"—we actually need to engage these stakeholders in the research agenda itself. Don't just show people that your research is relevant to them, post facto; engage with them continually and direct your research agenda towards helping to solve their problems—as an intended benefit rather than merely a corollary outcome to which we circle back to in order to demonstrate the public... [Read more]  
Replied by David Wojick on 04/13/2017 - 07:17
As someone who works the Hill I have some problems with this piece. First, the title is hyperbolic. Cutting a few agency budgets by 20% does not lose a generation. At this point NASA and NSF are untouched and DOD gets a big boost. Moreover, energy and health care both feature massive private R&D. Second, if the US fraction of research is shrinking simply because the Chinese fraction is growing then the global total is also growing. This is good news. It is not a reason for the US to try to keep its fraction constant, which would... [Read more]  
Replied by Holbrook, James on 04/13/2017 - 07:45
Indeed, Brooke, I didn't have a marketing pitch, but rather actual engagement, in mind!Debbie, your point about the intended audience for the piece is well-taken, as is your point about engineers (and engineering).I think that many of the other reactions to your piece (about the linear model, universities, capitalizing on research and the best strategies for our community) were not meant as interpretations of what the piece was about, but rather as contributions to an ongoing discussion. The participants in that discussion include at least all of us on the listserv and goes beyond the... [Read more]  
Replied by Susan Fitzpatrick on 04/13/2017 - 07:04
Whatever is said should be honest.  And it should not matter who the audience is – academics should adhere to high standards.  Telling a story and twisting facts to fit your narrative is exactly what the academic research community should do.    I also find the somewhat jingoist message of how the US has to be ahead (implying that everyone else has to be behind) somewhat at odds with the academic embrace of globalism.   But I believe I have already had this argument with several of my fellow list servers.     Below is an excerpt of a white paper I wrote on this issue from the... [Read more]  
Replied by Susan Fitzpatrick on 04/13/2017 - 07:06
Whatever is said should be honest.  And it should not matter who the audience is – academics should adhere to high standards.  Telling a story and twisting facts to fit your narrative is exactly what the academic research community should do.    I also find the somewhat jingoistic message of how the US has to be ahead (implying that everyone else has to be behind) somewhat at odds with the academic embrace of globalism.   But I believe I have already had this argument with several of my fellow list servers.     Below is an excerpt of a white paper I wrote on this issue from the... [Read more]  
Replied by Susan Fitzpatrick on 04/13/2017 - 07:15
BTW – I left out a “not” in an obvious place in my post…   I am a terrible typist, apologies. Susan M. Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.President, James S. McDonnell Foundation Visit JSMF forum on academic issues: www.jsmf.org/clothing-the-emperor SMF blog  www.scientificphilanthropy.com       [Read more]  
Replied by Frodeman, Robert on 04/13/2017 - 11:51
Thanks for your points, David. As most of us remember, between 1998 and 2003 NIH’s budget nearly doubled. Was this too much? Not enough? By what criteria?   More generally, it’s time we question the assumption of infinity that underlies academic culture—that knowledge should always increase.   Bob   ___________ Robert Frodeman Dept of Philosophy and Religion University of North Texas http://philosophyimpact.org     From: Science of Science Policy... [Read more]  

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