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Give research funding a third pillar

Image: John Patrick Robichaud [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

A universal basic research grant would repair flaws in the current system and recognise that knowledge is unlimited, says David Payne.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into the balance and effectiveness of research funding has been running for a few months now. It has raised important questions about how we get the best out of our research system.

While this is welcome, one fundamental question has gone largely unasked: that of how we distribute research funds, rather than just where we distribute them. The consensus seems to be that our current allocation system is, more or less, perfect, and the main questions are around sharing funds between places and disciplines.

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