Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?

So sayeth the National Science Board to the National Science Foundation in a new report on Enhancing Support of Transformative Research. The NSF’s oversight body thinks the Foundation’s peer-review system is just dandy. Gold standard, in fact.

However … “the Board recommends a new, distinct, and separate foundation-wide program designed specifically to solicit and to support transformational and paradigm-challenging proposals … [opening] an alternative, non-programmatic and non-discipline-specific path at NSF through which such ideas can be heard and considered. Such an alternative path is necessary in order to overcome the tendency of such proposals to be sidelined by established orthodoxy and limited budgets.”

Curses! Innovation foiled yet again by those pesky budget limits.

“Therefore, the Board makes the following recommendation:

That NSF develop a distinct, Foundation-wide Transformative Research
Initiative (TRI) distinguishable by its potential impact on prevailing
paradigms and by the potential to create new fields of science, to develop
new technologies, and to open new frontiers.”

And the NSF better get down to that transformational work right quick …

“The Board asks the Foundation to develop a simple and transparent process for instituting the TRI that encourages maximum participation by the community and report back to the Board with a preliminary plan by the August 2007 Board meeting.”

Let the woo begin!


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