Funding of science

Research funding is a term generally covering any funding for scientific research, in the areas of both "hard" science and technology and social science. The term often connotes funding obtained through a competitive process, in which potential research projects are evaluated and only the most promising receive funding. Such processes, which are run by government, corporations or foundations, allocate scarce funds.

Most research funding comes from two major sources, corporations (through research and development departments) and government (primarily carried out through universities and specialized government agencies; often known as research councils). Some small amounts of scientific research are carried out (or funded) by charitable foundations, especially in relation to developing cures for diseases such as cancer, malaria and AIDS.

According to OECD, more than 60% of research and development in scientific and technical fields is carried out by industries, and 20% and 10% respectively by universities and government.[1]

Comparatively, in countries with less GDP, such as Portugal and Mexico the industry contribution is significantly lower. The US government spends more than other countries on military R&D, although the proportion has fallen from around 30% in the 1980s to under 20. Government funding for medical research amounts to approximately 36% in the U.S. The government funding proportion in certain industries is higher, and it dominates research in social science and humanities. Similarly, with some exceptions (e.g. biotechnology) government provides the bulk of the funds for basic scientific research. In commercial research and development, all but the most research-oriented corporations focus more heavily on near-term commercialization possibilities rather than "blue-sky" ideas or technologies (such as nuclear fusion).[2]


In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as the pace of technological progress increased before and during the industrial revolution, most scientific and technological research was carried out by individual inventors using their own funds. A system of patents was developed to allow inventors a period of time (often twenty years) to commercialise their inventions and recoup a profit, although in practice many found this difficult. The talents of an inventor are not those of a businessman, and there are many examples of inventors (e.g. Charles Goodyear) making rather little money from their work whilst others were able to market it.

In the twentieth century, scientific and technological research became increasingly systematised, as corporations developed, and discovered that continuous investment in research and development could be a key element of success in a competitive strategy. It remained the case, however, that imitation by competitors - circumventing or simply flouting patents, especially those registered abroad - was often just as successful a strategy for companies focused on innovation in matters of organisation and production technique, or even in marketing. A classic example is that of Wilkinson Sword and Gillette in the disposable razor market, where the former has typically had the technological edge, and the latter the commercial one.

By country

Different countries spend vastly different amounts on research, in both absolute and relative terms. For instance, South Korea and Israel spend more than 4% of their GDP on research while many Arabic countries spend less than 1% (e.g. Saudi Arabia 0.25%).[3]

United States

The US spent $456.1 billion for research and development (R&D) in 2013, the most recent year for which such figures are available, according to the National Science Foundation. The private sector accounted for $322.5 billion, or 71%, of total national expenditures, with universities and colleges spending $64.7 billion, or 14%, in second place.[4]


Switzerland spent CHF 22 billion for R&D in 2015 with an increase of 10.5% compared with 2012 when the last survey was conducted.[5] In relative terms, this represents 3.4% of the country's GDP. R&D activities are carried out by nearly 125,000 individuals, mostly in the private sector (71%) and higher education institutions (27%).


Often scientists apply for research funding which a granting agency may (or may not) approve to financially support. These grants require a lengthy process as the granting agency can inquire about the researcher(s)'s background, the facilities used, the equipment needed, the time involved, and the overall potential of the scientific outcome. The process of grant writing and grant proposing is a somewhat delicate process for both the grantor and the grantee: the grantors want to choose the research that best fits their scientific principles, and the individual grantees want to apply for research in which they have the best chances but also in which they can build a body of work towards future scientific endeavors.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the United Kingdom has devised an alternative method of fund-distribution: the sandpit.[6]

Most universities have research administration offices to facilitate the interaction between the researcher and the granting agency.[7] "Research administration is all about service—service to our faculty, to our academic units, to the institution, and to our sponsors. To be of service, we first have to know what our customers want and then determine whether or not we are meeting those needs and expectations."[8]

In the United States of America, the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) serves its members and advances the field of research administration through education and professional development programs, the sharing of knowledge and experience, and by fostering a professional, collegial, and respected community.

Public funding

Government-funded research can either be carried out by the government itself, or through grants to researchers outside the government. The bodies providing public funding are often referred to as research councils.

Critics of basic research are concerned that research funding for the sake of knowledge itself does not contribute to a great return. However, scientific innovations often foreshadow or inspire further ideas unintentionally. For example, NASA's quest to put a man on the moon inspired them to develop better sound recording and reading technologies. NASA's research was furthered by the music industry, who used it to develop audio cassettes. Audio cassettes, being smaller and able to store more music, quickly dominated the music industry and increased the availability of music.

An additional distinction of government-sponsored research is that the government does not make a claim to the intellectual property, whereas private research-funding bodies sometimes claim ownership of the intellectual property that they are paying to have developed. Consequently, government-sponsored research more often allows the individual discoverer to file intellectual property claims over their own work.

List of research councils

Research councils are (usually public) bodies that provide research funding in the form of research grants or scholarships. These include arts councils and research councils for the funding of science.

An incomplete list of national and international pan-disciplinary public research councils:

Name Location
National Scientific and Technical Research Council  Argentina
Australian Research Council  Australia
Austrian Research Promotion Agency  Austria
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)  Belgium
National Research Council  Canada
National Commission for Scientific Research and Technology  Chile
National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Science and Technology  China
European Research Council  European Union
National Agency for Research  France
German Research Foundation  Germany
Department of Science and Technology  India
Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland  Ireland
National Research Council  Italy
National Research and Technology Council  Mexico
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research  Netherlands
Research Council of Norway  Norway
Spanish National Research Council  Spain
National Research Council of Sri Lanka  Sri Lanka
Swedish Research Council  Sweden
Swiss National Science Foundation   Switzerland
National Research Council of Thailand  Thailand
Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey  Turkey
Research Councils UK  United Kingdom
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health  United States
Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation[9] Denmark
Israel Science Foundation[10] Israel
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research Netherlands
Icelandic Centre for Research[11] Iceland
Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) Finland
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (India) India
National Research Foundation, Singapore[12] Singapore
National Research Foundation of South Africa South Africa
National Research Foundation of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Australia
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico Brazil
Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST)[13] Uganda
Srpska akademija nauke i umetnosti[14] Serbia

Private funding

Private funding for research comes from philanthropists,[15] crowd-funding,[16] private companies, non-profit foundations, and professional organizations.[17] Philanthropists and foundations have been known to pour millions of dollars into a wide variety of scientific investigations, including basic research discovery, disease cures, particle physics, astronomy, marine science, and the environment.[15] Many large technology companies spend billions of dollars on research and development each year to gain an innovative advantage over their competitors, though only about 42% of this funding goes towards projects that are considered substantially new, or capable of yielding radical breakthroughs.[18] New scientific start-up companies initially seek funding from crowd-funding organizations, venture capitalists, and angel investors, gathering preliminary results using rented facilities,[19] but aim to eventually become self-sufficient.[16][20]

Examples of companies that fund basic research include IBM (high temperature superconductivity was discovered by IBM sponsored basic experimental research in 1986), L'Oreal (which created the L'Oreal-Unesco prize for women scientists and finances internships), AXA (which launched a Research Fund in 2008 and finances Academic Institutions such as advanced fundamental mathematics French Foundation IHES).

A company may share resources with a materials science society to gain proprietary knowledge or trained workers.

Hard money versus soft money

In academic contexts, hard money may refer to funding received from a government or other entity at regular intervals, thus providing a steady inflow of financial resources to the beneficiary. The antonym, soft money, refers to funding provided only through competitive research grants and the writing of grant proposals.[21]

Hard money is usually issued by the government for the advancement of certain projects or for the benefit of specific agencies. Community healthcare, for instance, may be supported by the government by providing hard money. Since funds are disbursed regularly and continuously, the offices in charge of such projects are able to achieve their objectives more effectively than if they had been issued one-time grants.

Individual jobs at a research institute may be classified as "hard-money positions" or "soft-money positions";[21] the former are expected to provide job security because their funding is secure in the long term, whereas individual "soft-money" positions may come and go with fluctuations in the number of grants awarded to the institution.

Influence on research

The source of funding may introduce conscious or unconscious biases into a researcher's work.[22] Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest (COIs) is used by biomedical journals to guarantee credibility and transparency of the scientific process. Conflict of interest disclosure, however, is not systematically nor consistently dealt with by journals which publish scientific research results. When research is funded by the same agency that can be expected to gain from a favorable outcome there is a potential for biased results and research shows that results are indeed more favorable than would be expected from a more objective view of the evidence. A 2003 systematic review studied the scope and impact of industry sponsorship in biomedical research. The researchers found financial relationships among industry, scientific investigators, and academic institutions widespread. Results showed a statistically significant association between industry sponsorship and pro-industry conclusions and concluded that "Conflicts of interest arising from these ties can influence biomedical research in important ways".[23] A British study found that a majority of the members on national and food policy committees receive funding from food companies.[24]

In an effort to cut costs, the pharmaceutical industry has turned to the use of private, nonacademic research groups (i.e., contract research organizations [CROs]) which can do the work for less money than academic investigators. In 2001 CROs came under criticism when the editors of 12 major scientific journals issued a joint editorial, published in each journal, on the control over clinical trials exerted by sponsors, particularly targeting the use of contracts which allow sponsors to review the studies prior to publication and withhold publication of any studies in which their product did poorly. They further criticized the trial methodology stating that researchers are frequently restricted from contributing to the trial design, accessing the raw data, and interpreting the results.[25]

The Cochrane Collaboration, a worldwide group that aims to provide compiled scientific evidence to aid well informed health care decisions, conducts systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials of health care interventions and tries to disseminate the results and conclusions derived from them.[26][27] A few more recent reviews have also studied the results of non-randomized, observational studies. The systematic reviews are published in the Cochrane Library. A 2011 study done to disclose possible conflicts of interests [COI] in underlying research studies used for medical meta-analyses reviewed 29 meta-analyses and found that COIs in the studies underlying the meta-analyses were rarely disclosed. The 29 meta-analyses reviewed an aggregate of 509 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Of these, 318 RCTs reported funding sources with 219 (69%) industry funded. 132 of the 509 RCTs reported author COI disclosures, with 91 studies (69%) disclosing industry financial ties with one or more authors. The information was, however, seldom reflected in the meta-analyses. Only two (7%) reported RCT funding sources and none reported RCT author-industry ties. The authors concluded "without acknowledgement of COI due to industry funding or author industry financial ties from RCTs included in meta-analyses, readers' understanding and appraisal of the evidence from the meta-analysis may be compromised."[28]

In 2003 researchers looked at the association between authors' published positions on the safety and efficacy in assisting with weight loss of olestra, a fat substitute manufactured by the Procter & Gamble (P&G), and their financial relationships with the food and beverage industry. They found that supportive authors were significantly more likely than critical or neutral authors to have financial relationships with P&G and all authors disclosing an affiliation with P&G were supportive. The authors of the study concluded: "Because authors' published opinions were associated with their financial relationships, obtaining noncommercial funding may be more essential to maintaining objectivity than disclosing personal financial interests."[29]

A 2005 study in the journal Nature[30] surveyed 3247 US researchers who were all publicly funded (by the National Institutes of Health). Out of the scientists questioned, 15.5% admitted to altering design, methodology or results of their studies due to pressure of an external funding source.

A theoretical model has been established whose simulations imply that peer review and over-competitive research funding foster mainstream opinion to monopoly.[31]

Efficiency of funding

Most funding agencies mandate efficient use of their funds, that is, they want to maximize outcome for their money spent. Outcome can be measured by publication output, citation impact, number of patents, number of PhDs awarded etc. Another question is how to allocate funds to different disciplines, institutions, or researchers. A recent study by Wayne Walsh found that “prestigious institutions had on average 65% higher grant application success rates and 50% larger award sizes, whereas less-prestigious institutions produced 65% more publications and had a 35% higher citation impact per dollar of funding.”[32][33]

See also


  1. ^ OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015: Innovation for growth and society. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard. OECD. 2015. p. 156. doi:10.1787/sti_scoreboard-2015-en. ISBN 9789264239784 – via
  2. ^ Taylor, R.A. (2012). "Socioeconomic impacts of heat transfer research". International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer. 39 (10): 1467–1473. doi:10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2012.09.007.
  3. ^ "Gross domestic spending on R&D (indicator)". 2017-06-06. doi:10.1787/d8b068b4-en. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  4. ^ Anonymous (2016). "Microbiology Policy Bulletin Board" (PDF). Microbe Magazine. 11 (4): 145–148. doi:10.1128/microbe.11.145.1 – via ASM.
  5. ^ "Recherche et développement en Suisse 2015 (press release)". 2017-05-29. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  6. ^ Corbyn, Zoë (2009-07-02). "'Sandpits' bring out worst in 'infantilised' researchers". Times Higher Education. TSL Education. Sandpits, which were devised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, typically involve about 30 selected researchers from different areas who are brought together for several days of intensive discussions about a particular topic. [...] The wheels of such events are oiled with the promise of up to £1 million in funding, which is dished out at the end through a group peer-review process.
  7. ^ Gonzales, Evelina Garza, "External Funding and Tenure at Texas State University-San Marcos" (2009). Texas State University. Applied Research Projects. Paper 315.
  8. ^ Robert A. Killoren, Jr., Associate Vice President for Research, Office of Sponsored Programs, Penn State U, Fall 2005. From Lowry, Peggy (2006) "Assessing the Sponsored Research Office". SPONSORED RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION: A Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices
  9. ^ "Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation".
  10. ^ "Israel Science Foundation". Archived from the original on 2015-12-16.
  11. ^ "RANNIS (Icelandic Centre for Research)".
  12. ^ "National Research Foundation, Singapore".
  13. ^ "The Uganda National Council for Science and Technology - UNCST".
  14. ^ "Српска академија наука и уметнсти – Званични сајт Српске академије наука и уметности". (in Serbian). Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  15. ^ a b William J. Broad (2014-03-15). "Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b Giles, Jim (2012). "Finding philanthropy: Like it? Pay for it". Nature. 481 (7381): 252–253. Bibcode:2012Natur.481..252G. doi:10.1038/481252a. PMID 22258587.
  17. ^ "Possible Funding Sources".
  18. ^ Jaruzelski, B.; V. Staack; B. Goehle (2014). Global Innovation 1000: Proven Paths to Innovation Success (Technical report). Strategy&.
  19. ^ Stephanie M. Lee (27 August 2014). "New Palo Alto lab for life science startups". SFGate.
  20. ^ Dharmesh Shah. "7 Lessons On Startup Funding From a Research Scientist".
  21. ^ a b "What is a soft-money research position?", Academia StackExchange
  22. ^ "Who pays for science?".
  23. ^ Lenard I Lesser; Cara B Ebbeling; Merrill Goozner; David Wypij; David S Ludwig (January 9, 2007). "Relationship between Funding Source and Conclusion among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles". PLOS Medicine. PLOS. 4 (1): e5. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040005. PMC 1764435. PMID 17214504.
  24. ^ Marion Nestle (October 2001). "Food company sponsorship of nutrition research and professional activities: a conflict of interest?". Public Health Nutrition. Cambridge University Press. 4 (5): 1015–1022. doi:10.1079/PHN2001253. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  25. ^ Davidoff, F; Deangelis, C. D.; Drazen, J. M.; Nicholls, M. G.; Hoey, J; Højgaard, L; Horton, R; Kotzin, S; Nylenna, M; Overbeke, A. J.; Sox, H. C.; Van Der Weyden, M. B.; Wilkes, M. S. (September 2001). "Sponsorship, authorship and accountability". CMAJ. 165 (6): 786–8. PMC 81460. PMID 11584570.
  26. ^ Scholten, R. J.; Clarke, M; Hetherington, J (August 2005). "The Cochrane Collaboration". Eur J Clin Nutr. Suppl 1. 59 (S1): S147–S149. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602188. PMID 16052183. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  27. ^ "Cochrane".
  28. ^ "How Well Do Meta-Analyses Disclose Conflicts of Interests in Underlying Research Studies". The Cochrane Collaboration website. Cochrane Collaboration. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  29. ^ Levine, J; Gussow, JD; Hastings, D; Eccher, A (2003). "Authors' Financial Relationships With the Food and Beverage Industry and Their Published Positions on the Fat Substitute Olestra". American Journal of Public Health. 93 (4): 664–9. doi:10.2105/ajph.93.4.664. PMC 1447808. PMID 12660215.
  30. ^ Martinson, BC; Anderson, MS; De Vries, R (2005). "Scientists behaving badly". Nature. 435 (7043): 737–8. Bibcode:2005Natur.435..737M. doi:10.1038/435737a. PMID 15944677.
  31. ^ Fang, H. (2011). "Peer review and over-competitive research funding fostering mainstream opinion to monopoly". Scientometrics. 87 (2): 293–301. doi:10.1007/s11192-010-0323-4.
  32. ^ "Research Dollars Go Farther at Less-Prestigious Institutions: Study". The Scientist Magazine®. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  33. ^ Wahls, Wayne P. (2018-07-13). "High cost of bias: Diminishing marginal returns on NIH grant funding to institutions". bioRxiv: 367847. doi:10.1101/367847.

Further reading

External links

Big Science

Big science is a term used by scientists and historians of science to describe a series of changes in science which occurred in industrial nations during and after World War II, as scientific progress increasingly came to rely on large-scale projects usually funded by national governments or groups of governments. Individual or small group efforts, or Small Science, are still relevant today as theoretical results by individual authors may have a significant impact, but very often the empirical verification requires experiments using constructions, such as the Large Hadron Collider, costing between $5 and $10 billion.

Effects of the Cold War

The Cold War had many effects on society, both today and in the past. Primarily, communism was defeated. In Russia, military spending was cut dramatically and quickly. The effects of this were very large, seeing as the military-industrial sector had previously employed one of every five Soviet adults and its dismantling left hundreds of millions throughout the former Soviet Union unemployed.After Russia embarked on economic reforms in the 1990s, it suffered a financial crisis and a recession more severe than the United States and Germany had experienced during the Great Depression. Russian living standards have worsened overall in the post–Cold War years, although the economy has resumed growth since 1995. It wasn't until 2005 that the average post-communist country had returned to 1989 levels of per-capita GDP, although some are still lagging far behind.The legacy of the Cold War continues to influence world affairs. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the post–Cold War world is widely considered as unipolar, with the United States the sole remaining superpower. The Cold War defined the political role of the United States in the post–World War II world: by 1989 the United States held military alliances with 50 countries, and had 1.5 million troops posted abroad in 117 countries. The Cold War also institutionalized a global commitment to huge, permanent peacetime military-industrial complexes and large-scale military funding of science.Military expenditures by the US during the Cold War years were estimated to have been $8 trillion, while nearly 100,000 Americans lost their lives in the Korean War and Vietnam War. Although the loss of life among Soviet soldiers is difficult to estimate, as a share of their gross national product the financial cost for the Soviet Union was far higher than that of the United States.In addition to the loss of life by uniformed soldiers, millions died in the superpowers' proxy wars around the globe, most notably in Southeast Asia. Most of the proxy wars and subsidies for local conflicts ended along with the Cold War; the incidence of interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, as well as refugee and displaced persons crises has declined sharply in the post–Cold War years.The legacy of Cold War conflict, however, is not always easily erased, as many of the economic and social tensions that were exploited to fuel Cold War competition in parts of the Third World remain acute. The breakdown of state control in a number of areas formerly ruled by Communist governments has produced new civil and ethnic conflicts, particularly in the former Yugoslavia. In Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War has ushered in an era of economic growth and a large increase in the number of liberal democracies, while in other parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, independence was accompanied by state failure.Many nuclear legacies can be identified from the Cold War, such as the availability of new technologies for nuclear power and energy, and the use of radiation for improving medical treatment and health. Environmental remediation, industrial production, research science, and technology development have all benefited from the carefully managed application of radiation and other nuclear processes.

On the other hand, despite the end of the Cold War, military development and spending has continued, particularly in the deployment of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and defensive systems.

Because there was no formalized treaty ending the Cold War, the former superpowers have continued to various degrees to maintain and even improve or modify existing nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Moreover, other nations not previously acknowledged as nuclear-weapons states have developed and tested nuclear-explosive devices.

The risk of nuclear and radiological terrorism by possible sub-national organizations or individuals is now a concern.

The international nonproliferation regime inherited from the Cold War still provides disincentives and safeguards against national or sub-national access to nuclear materials and facilities. Formal and informal measures and processes have effectively slowed national incentives and the tempo of international nuclear-weapons proliferation.

Numerous and beneficial uses of nuclear energy have evolved such as the use of nuclear energy to create electricity. Commercial nuclear-reactor operation and construction have persisted, with some notable increase in worldwide energy production. The management of nuclear waste remains somewhat unresolved, depending very much on government policies. However, the quantity of waste produced from nuclear power plants is relatively small, and nuclear waste has been proven to be recyclable. Several countries, including France, Japan, and Finland, currently reprocess nuclear waste.As nuclear weapons are becoming surplus to national military interests, they are slowly being dismantled, and in some cases their fissile material is being recycled to fuel civilian nuclear-reactors.

Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos

The Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (FINEP), or Funding Authority for Studies and Projects is an organization of the Brazilian federal government under the Ministry of Science of Technology, devoted to funding of science and technology in the country.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance or financial aid can refer to:

Financial assistance (share purchase), assistance given by a company for the purchase of its shares or those of its holding companies

Funding of science, the provision of financing for scientific research projects

Welfare, financial aid by (primarily) governmental institutions or charitable organizations to individuals in need


Student financial aid in the United States, funding intended to help students pay educational expenses

Bailout, financial support to a company or country which faces serious financial difficulty

Bursary, a monetary award made by an institution to individuals or groups of people who cannot afford to pay full fees

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado da Bahia

The Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado da Bahia (FAPESB) is an organization of the Bahia, Brazil, government devoted to funding of science and technology in the state.

Government waste

Government waste is the opinion that the government does not spend money in an acceptable manner.

History of military technology

The military funding of science has had a powerful transformative effect on the practice and products of scientific research since the early 20th century. Particularly since World War I, advanced science-based technologies have been viewed as essential elements of a successful military.

World War I is often called "the chemists’ war", both for the extensive use of poison gas and the importance of nitrates and advanced high explosives. Poison gas, beginning in 1915 with chlorine from the powerful German dye industry, was used extensively by the Germans and the British ; over the course of the war, scientists on both sides raced to develop more and more potent chemicals and devise countermeasures against the newest enemy gases. Physicists also contributed to the war effort, developing wireless communication technologies and sound-based methods of detecting U-boats, resulting in the first tenuous long-term connections between academic science and the military.World War II marked a massive increase in the military funding of science, particularly physics. In addition to the Manhattan Project and the resulting atomic bomb, British and American work on radar was widespread and ultimately highly influential in the course of the war; radar enabled detection of enemy ships and aircraft, as well as the radar-based proximity fuze. Mathematical cryptography, meteorology, and rocket science were also central to the war effort, with military-funded wartime advances having a significant long-term effect on each discipline. The technologies employed at the end—jet aircraft, radar and proximity fuzes, and the atomic bomb—were radically different from pre-war technology; military leaders came to view continued advances in technology as the critical element for success in future wars. The advent of the Cold War solidified the links between military institutions and academic science, particularly in the United States and the Soviet Union, so that even during a period of nominal peace military funding continued to expand. Funding spread to the social sciences as well as the natural sciences, and whole new fields, such as digital computing, were born of military patronage. Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, military funding of science has decreased substantially, but much of the American military-scientific complex remains in place.

The sheer scale of military funding for science since World War II has instigated a large body of historical literature analyzing the effects of that funding, especially for American science. Since Paul Forman’s 1987 article “Behind quantum electronics: National security as a basis for physical research in the United State, 1940-1960,” there has been an ongoing historical debate over precisely how and to what extent military funding affected the course of scientific research and discovery. Forman and others have argued that military funding fundamentally redirected science—particularly physics—toward applied research, and that military technologies predominantly formed the basis for subsequent research even in areas of basic science; ultimately the very culture and ideals of science were colored by extensive collaboration between scientists and military planners. An alternate view has been presented by Daniel Kevles, that while military funding provided many new opportunities for scientists and dramatically expanded the scope of physical research, scientists by-and-large retained their intellectual autonomy.

Humane Slaughter Association

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) supports research, training, and development to improve the welfare of livestock during transport and slaughter. It provides technical information about handling and slaughter on its website, training for farmer staff and vets, advice to governments and industry, and funding of science and technology to make slaughter more humane. HSA is the sister charity to Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

Jeffrey Mandula

Jeffrey Ellis Mandula (born 1941 in New York City) is a physicist well known for the Coleman–Mandula theorem from 1967. He got his Ph.D. 1966 under Sidney Coleman at Harvard University. Today, he is responsible for the funding of science in the U.S. Department of Energy.

Jennifer Rohn

Jennifer Leigh Rohn (born 1967 in Stow, Ohio) is a British-American scientist and novelist. She is a cell biologist at University College London, editor of the webzine and founder of the Science is Vital organization that campaigns against cuts to the public funding of science in the United Kingdom.

Jonathan Wilker

Jonathan Wilker is an American scientist, engineer, and educator who focuses on marine biological adhesives for use in surgery and other applications. His work has been profiled by The New York Times, National Public Radio, Popular Science, and his research findings appear in a number of scientific journals.

He is a Professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he teaches courses in chemistry. Wilker has received a number of awards for his teaching including The College of Science Outstanding Teacher Award at Purdue University (2011). In addition to being in the Department of Chemistry, he is also a Professor of Materials Engineering at Purdue University. Outside activities include advocacy for federal funding of science research and development.

Materials Research Society

The Materials Research Society (MRS) is a non-profit, professional organization for materials researchers, scientists and engineers. Established in 1973, MRS is a member-driven organization of approximately 14,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government.

Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, MRS membership spans over 90 countries, with approximately 48% of MRS members residing outside the United States.

MRS members work in all areas of materials science and research, including physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering. MRS provides a collaborative environment for idea exchange across all disciplines of materials science through its meetings, publications and other programs designed to foster networking and cooperation.The Society’s mission is to promote communication for the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life.

Military policy

Military policy (also called defence policy or defense policy) is public policy dealing with international security and the military. It comprises the measures and initiatives that governments do or do not take in relation to decision-making and strategic goals, such as when and how to commit national armed forces.

The Military Policy is used to ensure retention of independence in national development, and alleviation of hardships imposed from hostile and aggressive external actors. The Defence Ministry (or a synonymous organisation) minister is the primary decision-maker for the national military policy.

Military technology

Military technology is the application of technology for use in warfare. It comprises the kinds of technology that are distinctly military in nature and not civilian in application, usually because they lack useful or legal civilian applications, or are dangerous to use without appropriate military training.

Military technology is often researched and developed by scientists and engineers specifically for use in battle by the armed forces. Many new technologies came as a result of the military funding of science. Weapons engineering is the design, development, testing and lifecycle management of military weapons and systems. It draws on the knowledge of several traditional engineering disciplines, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mechatronics, electro-optics, aerospace engineering, materials engineering, and chemical engineering.

The line is porous; military inventions have been brought into civilian use throughout history, with sometimes minor modification if any, and civilian innovations have similarly been put to military use.

Outline of Big Science

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Big Science.

Big Science – term used by scientists and historians of science to describe a series of changes in science which occurred in industrial nations during and after World War II.

Paul Forman

Paul Forman (born 1937) is an historian of science and is the retired curator of the Division of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History. Forman's primary research focus has been the history of physics, in which he has helped pioneer the application of cultural history to scientific developments.

Forman is especially known for two controversial historical theses. The first (often called "the Forman thesis") regards the influence of German culture on early interpretations of quantum mechanics; Forman argued that the culture of Weimar Germany, through its emphasis on acausality, individuality and visualizability (Anschaulichkeit), contributed to the acceptance and interpretation of quantum mechanics. Forman's second thesis regards the influence of military funding on the character and course of scientific research; he argued that during World War II and the Cold War, the massive scale of defense-related funding prompted a shift in physics from basic to applied research, spurring considerable historical research on the effects of the military funding of science. Forman's recent work focuses on "characterization of the modern/postmodern transition in science, society, and culture."


Science (from the Latin word scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to explain events of the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived natural philosophy, which was later transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape.Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, and sociology), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g., logic, mathematics, and theoretical computer science), which study abstract concepts. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences actually constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.Science is based on research, which is commonly conducted in academic and research institutions as well as in government agencies and companies. The practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, armaments, health care, and environmental protection.

Science policy

Science policy is concerned with the allocation of resources for the conduct of science towards the goal of best serving the public interest. Topics include the funding of science, the careers of scientists, and the translation of scientific discoveries into technological innovation to promote commercial product development, competitiveness, economic growth and economic development. Science policy focuses on knowledge production and role of knowledge networks, collaborations and the complex distributions of expertise, equipment and know-how. Understanding the processes and organizational context of generating novel and innovative science and engineering ideas is a core concern of science policy. Science policy topics include weapons development, health care and environmental monitoring.

Science policy thus deals with the entire domain of issues that involve science. A large and complex web of factors influences the development of science and

engineering that includes government science policy makers, private firms (including both national and multi-national firms), social

movements, media, non-governmental organizations, universities, and other research institutions. In addition, science policy is increasingly international as defined by the global operations of firms and research institutions as well as by the collaborative networks of non-governmental

organizations and of the nature of scientific inquiry itself.

Terence Kealey

George Terence Evelyn Kealey (born 16 February 1952) is a British biochemist who was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, a private university in Britain. He was appointed Professor of Clinical Biochemistry in 2011. Prior to his tenure at Buckingham, Kealey lectured in clinical biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. He is well known for his outspoken opposition to public funding of science.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.