Beware of Politics

Who thought science was free from politics? Science consumes millions of tax payers’ money each year. Often based on polished applications, on decision from people inexperienced in the field. Ideally, the best scientific proposals should be funded. In reality, it is often about who knows who and who can market the proposal the best. Sadly, approving successful science can be a step up the career ladder in politics. A situation which can lead to projects based on shaky but eye-catching scientific evidence being put forward. Good science makes for good publicity.

The other side of the same coin is that bad publicity can lead to science being rejected. Even good science. One of the projects suffering collateral damage from the ongoing crisis at Karolinska Institutet is the joint biobank effort, BBMRI, which suddenly had its funding suspended, pending investigation of how funds have been used.

One beneficial outcome of the KI crisis is a more sceptic position among funding bodies, and stricter oversight of scientific funding. Let’s hope BBMRI can support its spending, and save us from Politics in Science!

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