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News How to fund Basic Research

  1. Jul 14, 2011 #1
    Basic research is one of the smaller parts of the federal budget, but seems frequently targeted for cuts, possibly due to an exaggerated perception of the costs by the public. Applied research could be taken up by the private sector, I imagine, since it consistently leads to profits. But I wonder if there's any way that basic research can sustain itself, either through donations or merchandising or some other method. Do you think there is any way to fund big, expensive, basic research and exploration projects (telescopes, space exploration, colliders, etc.) with less government money? And do you think this could be done without compromising the integrity of the research?

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    Random Ideas to Criticize:

    The government could continue to fund basic research, but open programs up to anonymous donations for extra cash, and maybe reducing the tax-funded portion over time.

    Non-profits that fund scientific research already exist. Might there be a way to strengthen them?

    Advertising? A Google logo on the space shuttles would probably bring in a few million a year.

    Could scientists charge for access to experimental data? Maybe Hubble could fund itself if it sold its pictures to civilians and data to other scientists. This might prioritize what experiments get one by their value to other scientists.

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    I haven't really thought any of these ideas through too much, I just thought I'd give examples of what I'm looking for. Basically, can science fund itself, either through charity or commercialism?
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  2. jcsd
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