Monday, October 09, 2006

Marsden Fund panelists

Helen Clark's husband is on the panel...
Oh my. Good procedures must not only be done, they must be seen to be done.

The stats about the amount of cash that the fund managers get should be compared with the total pool. If a fund member seems to get a high return on their investment, some questions need to be asked with one option being that the best scientists are doing the judging and hence have a high chance of success based on the science.

Putting on my evil genius hat, a little quid pro quo and some back scratching could pay dividends in this sort of scenario if only you could engineer yourself onto the panel in the first place - hence we should be looking at the history of how the panel members are selected, declarations of conflict of interest made public in advance and some co-variant analysis of your success probability given that you don't vote on your project but the rest of them do... (i wonder how you would do that?)

This is very unseemly and best dealt with using complete transparency - it is after the guiding principle of science, it doesn't gaurantee bad things won't happen, it just tries to ensure that they are quickly found out and corrected.


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