Understanding the Uneven Advance of Knowledge

Program Areas – Complex Socio-technical Systems, Archived

Better science policy decisions would be facilitated by more insight into why some areas of science (and their applications) advance more rapidly than others. Besides intrinsic scientific difficulty, one would expect that political and cultural context, as well as differences in resource allocation, are important contributors to this uneven advance. Distinguishing the causes of unevenness could be very important for enhancing outcome-based policy decisions, for example, by identifying problems that are not likely to be solved by more research in particular fields and highlighting others that are ripe for advance but have been resource-starved. This project will begin with a focus on biomedical research issues including infectious disease, cardiovascular problems, contraception, mental illness, and malaria.