Research funding levels are only part of the story

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal details how advocates for lung cancer research are striving to increase funding levels. Lung cancer has two things going against it in the competition for funds:

  • Many patients are smokers, and therefore garner little sympathy
  • Lung cancer has a high mortality rate, so few survivors are around to advocate

The lung cancer people are trying to improve their image by featuring non-smokers in their advocacy efforts. But another promising angle –for scientific research in general– would be to increase the value of research being done by developing a coordinated, multi-disciplinary research strategy, rather than simply throwing money out to individual researchers who submit interesting grant proposals.

A good example of this concept is the Myelin Repair Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis, which I will be writing more about in a future post. Their model promises to increase research productivity and speed scientific advances.

June 15, 2005

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