Effect of private investment on nanotechnology

from the money-is-nice-but-less-politics-is-better dept.
In the 20 October Science (free registration req'd), Editor-in-Chief Donald Kennedy sketches the effect of private money on basic research. One topic discussed is "the declining relative state of scientific equipment and facilities in the research universities. I say relative because the equipment and the buildings aren't really that bad, except in comparison with what is available in the new companies, many of them startups, that now perform an increasing fraction of the kind of basic research that used to be an academic monopoly. The availability of venture capital and the liveliness of our entrepreneurial culture have radically altered the character of commercial science, attaching financial opportunity to the nascent front end of the innovation cycle. Molecular and cell biology, nanotechnology [emphasis added], and computer science are among the disciplines that have been transformed by this migration." CP: It's true that there's plenty of private money available for nanotechnology companies. Tenure-track professors are hearing the siren song. But I disagree on one point: what these refugees dislike most in academia is the politics, not obsolete equipment.

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