Thursday, October 05, 2006

Someone's getting snarky...

Royal Society Alert - Issue 443

Latest Alert can be read by RSNZ members on the web:


1. Comment from the Marsden Fund Council


The past fortnight has seen much ill-informed criticism in the media of
the Marsden Fund selection process, the topics selected for funding, and
even the researchers themselves.

The Marsden Fund Council and the Royal Society of New Zealand strongly
reject these criticisms and the innuendoes of unethical behaviour by
some of our leading researchers. Several organisations such as the
Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, the Association of University Staff, the
Council for Humanities, and the Association of Crown Research
Institutes, have come out in support either of the choice of the topics
or the processes used to select successful projects. Whilst there will
always be debate about priorities between different areas of research,
and this is a valid topic for discussion, the allegations that
panellists have either been allowed to or have in fact influenced the
awarding of grants to themselves is both untrue and offensive. The
Marsden Fund Council does not believe that it has been given adequate
opportunity to explain in detail the processes it uses to both manage
and avoid conflicts in the awarding of grants. The Council is seeking
space in next week’s Alert to provide a full description of this
process, which was rigidly adhered to in the recent funding round.
Indeed, one could argue that it is impossible for something to be both true and offensive.

Any person or body that decides where someone else's money gets spent is open to the accusation of insider trading or kick-backs. It's not like no-one in science has ever given their colleague or co-authors a better hearing/review than their counterparts/competitors (who are always deluded or just plain stoopid) so you might not award yourself some funding but a bit of back scratching is just greasing the wheels and being a team player...

Coming out with your fists flailing and hubris over the accusation is pointless - stick to the facts (and link to your opponents statements FFS) and make your case or perhaps thou doth protest too much?


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