Daily Archives: June 21, 2010

The Blocking Point

blocking point, block, reseach funding, investment, biotech, research proposal, business plan, investment project

Why is it actually that life extension research is funded so insufficiently? Well, here is why. Of course, there are people who have money. And they’re not averse to thinking about scientific research. It may turn out to be quite a useful thing. Moreover, one can make money out of it. Yes, these people would love to have a magnificent innovation, a biotech company. They tell the scientists: “Bring us the business plan! – We’ll consider it.” And here’s the thing… If the idea is truly new, there is no business plan; there’s not even a guaranteed result. The planning of the innovative work itself turns out to be an extremely hard and expensive task. And a good scientist is always busy, so he cannot really create beautiful presentations, and he also has absolutely no idea that more scientists need to be engaged in this kind of work, and that the main costs will be the organizational ones. So, this means that the investor wants some tremendous work from the scientist and only then would he make a decision about the money. That is why large organizations that announce grants receive bad proposals, because nobody invests in the creation of the project proposal, or because the proposal is some really old stuff that, for some reason, makes an impression.

Just imagine, an investor wants a huge, 600,000 square foot, shopping center to be built, and he tells the architects: “Well, guys, just give me a project with all the services, utilities, calculations, and logistics, and then I’ll see whether or not to finance the construction and your work or not.” The architects would faint after hearing such a wonderful proposal. Or, they would give the investor some old project that they have already done, but, in our case, haven’t been able to create an innovation.

What needs to be done? First of all, one should ask the scientists to write proposals for money. He should also understand that a lot of what they’d write just wouldn’t be satisfactory. There’s this thing here: a sucessful scientist is overwhelmed with work for the next 3 years, and he wouldn’t stand in the line in front of the investor’s door. One has to find the scientist and persuade him to cooperate. Then comes the reviewing part (it’s another story about how to get impartiality). Then comes the choice of the project. And still, it will be risky. Here I’d like to say a couple of words about the necessety of a complex and systems approach, but maybe another time.

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