Fostering Innovation

Another quick link to another blog. Check out Financial Times columnist Tim Hartford calling for more experimentation and risk-taking:

I think our system for promoting innovation, which is funded by a combination of government grants and private enterprise, struggles with large and adventurous projects, such as clean energy. The private sector is terrific at producing lots of experiments (just think of Silicon Valley) but not at funding expensive, long-term projects. Government grants can do that but are often rather risk-averse. One promising approach to get the best of both is innovation prizes. Another is to use a far more risk-loving system of grants.

Recently there seems to be many articles along these lines. In principle, I’m all for more grants for risky research, more experimentation, and the expansion of innovation prizes. But I haven’t seen anyone detail how we would implement such a system in practice, how it would be structured, and perhaps most importantly, how to get buy-in from the advanced faculty who sit on the grant committees!

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