Science funding is a gamble so let's give out money by lottery

Abstract

Researchers in universities mostly get paid through competitive grants from governments: they write proposals detailing the research they want to do, and other researchers review these proposals and decide which ones should get funded (the process is known as ‘grant peer review’). There are many criticisms of peer review, including charges of conservatism, inefficiency and bias. However, it is hard to evaluate these criticisms given confidentiality of data and lack of alternative funding mechanisms. In my PhD research, I used computer simulations to explore alternative funding models, and found out that giving money out at random, by lottery, can be more efficient and less biased than grant peer review. In the talk I will discuss the funding landscape for research, my methodology and results, and some possible implications for the real world.

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Location
Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, United Kingdom
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Shahar Avin
Research Associate