Canada Dispenses with Peer Review

All of you sweating to the paylines may want to look due north for respite. Science news reports that “several Canadian research institutes will receive multimillion-dollar grants from the government this year without having even asked for the money.

The government’s unprecedented decision to dispense with peer review in awarding the grants–or even solicit advice on which programs to fund–comes as a huge surprise to the science community, which has questioned the process even as it welcomes the windfall. “I feel like I’ve been adopted by a rich grandmother,” says David Colman, director of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, which will get nearly $13 million.”

Not surprisingly, “The biggest complaint from scientists is that national politicians and bureaucrats identified and targeted disciplines for investment, and then picked individual winners, without benefit of scientific input and peer review.”

On the other hand, the Canadian government boosted science & technology spending by 5%.


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