And a third of my fellow-Canadians will support this government to the bitter end. Via The Globe and Mail: Funding changes usher in a dark age for Canadian science. Excerpt:
Major changes in government funding are threatening Canada’s robust international standing in health research, with some of the country’s top scientists saying it could drive them away.
The Canadian Institute of Health and Research (CIHR), the main federal funding body for biomedical research, has radically shifted its spending strategy as part of a three-year organizational restructuring despite strong objections from the research community.
The CIHR changes, which came to light recently after the first results of the selection process under the new system, place a new emphasis on applied research and alter the peer review system through which the grants are awarded. The reforms scrap several grant opportunities for which all researchers could apply and phase in a system tailored to the more established researchers that allows them to work for seven years instead of four before having to reapply for funding.
In the new peer review system, experts will discuss proposed projects remotely via the Internet rather than in person.
Last week, a group of reviewers from the first competition under the new rules wrote a letter to the CIHR in which they said the new system prevents a fair review. They said it is difficult to evaluate the proposed work properly without discussing it face to face. They also said the new evaluation system makes it harder for younger scientists to obtain the funding.
“Losing a complete generation of promising scientists to an administrative revamping of the operating grant programs would be a disaster, certainly for these individual scientists, but also for the competitiveness of Canada in research and discovery,” said the letter, signed by Anne-Claude Gingras and six other reviewers.
After the peer review, proposals are ranked and funds allocated going down the list as far as possible. Whereas 25 per cent of proposals were funded in 2005, the success rate has fallen to 15 per cent as a result of government cuts.