The most talented individuals must be given the trust and freedom to explore and question
Scientific breakthroughs arise when excellent researchers are given the freedom to explore beyond the bounds of formulaic R&D programmes. A Howard Hughes-type grant scheme for Europe would promote this, says Gunnar Öquist.
Fostering more ground-breaking research in Europe must be put at the top of the political agenda in Brussels. The reasons are clear – on the one hand good science is essential to increase the economic competitiveness of Europe. But even more critically, the current over-exploitation of resources around the globe is not sustainable.
Today, we do not have the technical or social means to run our economies on a sustainable footing, but I am pretty sure that it will be societies that emphasise research that underpins new discoveries, new ideas and new innovations – that will foster the kind of ingenuity necessary to find rational solutions to these problems.
Societies that emphasise research and innovation with a focus on excellence and pioneering discoveries – that go well beyond our experience and knowledge to date – will give hope for the future.
Balancing research strategies
To do this, we now need to exploit the full potential of scientific research.
The discussion on how to extract the maximum returns from scientific research must not be hung up on a discussion of “top-down” or “bottom-up” research strategies. Both approaches are important and needed, since over time they address questions with different conceptual constraints.
Thus the two strategies are complementary to each other, and in the long run neither of them can be successful without the support of the other.
via Science Business – Gunnar Öquist
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