Do cash prizes help or harm scientific research?

L.A. Times 2013/01/11 20:00:00
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Prize sponsors, like those in centuries past, say that offering financial incentives gets new people thinking about old problems. But some worry the trend could distort scientific priorities.

Below is Dr. Gary Michelson at home in Los Angeles with his dogs. As a medical student, Michelson objected to learning surgery by operating on live dogs. Today, he is the sponsor of the Michelson Prize in Reproductive Biology, which offers $25 million for the first researcher to create an easy, affordable means of sterilizing animals.

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Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-funding...

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  • ~TheDreamer~ 2013/01/14 20:51:30 (edited)
    Why not?!

    Nothing inspires people more than money....(You know that's true)
  • Alex Goldsmith 2013/01/14 20:17:43
    Alex Goldsmith
    big motivation
  • Aran Smeallie 2013/01/14 19:46:28
    Aran Smeallie
    "Hey, heres something I discovered! What do i get?"
    "The satisfaction of being the person who discovered it!"
    this kind of world would truly suck
  • Sperry23 2013/01/14 17:07:19
    Science and scientists, by-and-large, are relatively poorly funded.Yet science and discovery is what has brought us longer, healthier lives, a better standard of living, and a higher level of understanding of everything.

    It's also brought us better and faster ways to kill ourselves (as a species).

    Still, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
  • Alex Go... Sperry23 2013/01/14 20:19:18
    Alex Goldsmith
    recent progress: research a little into the next wireless standard, 802.11AC
  • stranger 2013/01/14 17:06:12 (edited)
    science today goes to the highest bidder, and thats why we have such high cancer, mentl problems, etc and misleading science.

    now of course there is real scientists who aren't bought out, but the unthinking majority always hate on these scientists!
  • freedom 2013/01/14 16:35:09
    Cash prizes and financing will always be part of innovation. Yes, there are drawbacks but such drawbacks are known such as financing-bias. This why scientific journals have peer review.
  • Derbyhat 2013/01/14 05:05:47
    Private sector prizes fuels our research. Government sector prizes leads to an endless stream of money to those who are living off the checks. Entitlements!
  • justmyopinion 2013/01/14 02:54:14
    I actually think its about neutral. First there's plenty of money out there in private research or the creation of a commercial product. Second, results are pretty well scrutinized by other scientists in the field. Third, I think a lot of them prefer the recognition to the money, based on my experience anyway. Definitely a question worth considering though.
  • Derbyhat justmyo... 2013/01/20 18:39:21
    Is global warming your model of scientific scrutiny? Just asking.
  • justmyo... Derbyhat 2013/01/21 21:42:46
    I think its pretty well scrutinized. If its some kind of conspiracy theory you're referring too I'd advise you to look at the numbers for yourself and form your own opinion.
  • wilsonmja 2013/01/14 02:13:26
    I think it helps by making them work that much harder.
  • Killing for Love 2013/01/14 00:17:05
    Killing for Love
    As much as a teenager is motivated by the money a part time job grants ,so is the scientist who is competitive with the rest.
  • Joves the Instigator 2013/01/13 23:50:32
    Joves the Instigator
    When given a prize, i,e a profit motive for developing something, it gets done. When government funds it, it never gets done. This is because it is more profitable to drag it out year after year over actually achieving the goal of the exercise. This is why I want to see all government funding taken from such things. It breeds its own form of welfare that does not benefit the taxpayer.
  • Michael 2013/01/13 20:05:15
    We still rely on proof last I heard!
  • Sagan 2013/01/13 16:40:44
  • Wonder Woman 2013/01/13 16:14:08
  • calvin236 2013/01/13 15:42:09
    I think it can be used to help start scientific progress and is a good enough motivator. There are risks associated with it too, but hopefully people (especially scientists) should be held accountable to defend and show their experiment for the committe or group possibly funding the experiment.
  • Cal 2013/01/13 15:02:22
    I don't honestly think they make any difference. http://patrioticvoices.com/
  • SpongeBob 2013/01/13 10:43:40
    Great Idea
  • fortycal_sig 2013/01/13 07:59:48
    Assume the prizes in question are ones like the Ansari X-Prize, etc. Awesome approach.
  • kat 2013/01/13 07:46:36
    That isn't to say that in the rush to get some drugs / medical devices to the market, that there isn't some harm to the public. However, the money to the inventors didn't do it. Its the money from the lobbyist used to ply the Food & Drug administators for too quick approvals.
  • convex kat 2013/01/13 13:56:03
    Too quick? It takes millions of dollars and years upon years of clinical trials to get FDA approval for anything. The only people that can afford it are the big boys who put priority on bringing to market things which they know how to sell well (sexual aids, anti-depressants, cholesterol drugs...). A scientist with a great idea is stuck with having to seek investors, and keeping that running for years on end. If anything, we need a less costly and time consuming process.
  • kat convex 2013/01/13 21:15:52
    I've worked for a few of the big boys - some approvals may have been given too quickly in view of deaths and other serious side effects that resulted from relatively quick approvals as compared to an isolated scientist with a great idea.
  • Watermusicranger 2013/01/13 07:26:27
    Good Idea.
  • Americanā˜†Atheist 2013/01/13 05:33:18
  • Cliff 2013/01/13 05:16:29
  • adrianna2898 2013/01/13 04:35:55 (edited)
    Scientists could lie about results to get the reward , thus helping no one .
  • freedom adriann... 2013/01/14 16:33:26
    No, that would be a case of fraud and can be dealt with.
  • cheshirewayne 2013/01/13 03:25:24
    look at the global warming freaks, they've been for sale from the beginning. This constantly changing data and formulas to make their models work is not right. Having been caught hiding data and lying about results makes it clear that they have an agenda. The real reason they won't have a honest discussion with the anti man made global warming crowd is because their idea just don't stand up to the light of day, so they shout insults like children.
  • America... cheshir... 2013/01/13 05:33:37
  • freedom America... 2013/01/14 16:33:46
    No it is not. It is a theory and a crappy one at that.
  • America... freedom 2013/01/15 03:09:05
  • freedom America... 2013/01/15 15:47:09
    The whole theory based on unconnected facts and processed by computer models which have not proven to predicting outcomes.
  • John Wa... cheshir... 2013/01/14 07:59:01
    John Walker II
    GW has been proven, though yes the models change as they are updated to reflect a better understanding of the entire process.

    Have some lied about it? Yes but that is why there a process called peer review among the scientists that shames those that lie and makes them unemployable.

    The reason I believe some of those incidents have come to light is because people are under pressure by numerous sources to prove it or disprove, and unfortunately... scientists are human. They submit to the lure of easy money to slant their results.

    They usually end up with no credibility what so ever.
  • Hawkeye John Wa... 2013/01/14 15:35:55
    Global Warming if FACT.. As is Climate Change.. There is no disputing this.. It's the causes and the so called solutions that are the subjects of controversy..

    Climate Change is the NATURAL State of Climates.. It has been a reality,, indeed a NECESSARY reality for LIFE to exist on this planet since the time of it's formation..

    TODAY we have Climate Change in the form of a warming period.. From 1350 to 1850 we were in what scientists call the " Mini Ice Age".. Before THAT,, We were growing GRAPES in Northern England and GREENLAND was FREE of Glaciers..
  • John Wa... Hawkeye 2013/01/14 16:23:03
    John Walker II
    That doesn't dispute anything I've said but thank you for the additional information.
  • Hawkeye John Wa... 2013/01/14 17:13:19
    My apologies for not being clear.. I was not in dispute with anything that you said.. I was merely intending to suppliment your points..
  • John Wa... Hawkeye 2013/01/14 17:14:03
    John Walker II
    Ah. Sincerest apologies on my part then for reading a tone into your words that was not intended.
  • Hawkeye John Wa... 2013/01/14 17:43:48
    As I reread my comments I am inclined towards coming to the same conclusions..

    They appear far more contentious then intended..

    The fault is entirely mine..

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