New scientific research award helps weed out the goose eggs

“The success of any research has some unpredictability, but some discoveries can transform our understanding of life processes, energy, etc.,” says Steve Fluharty.

In these days of tight government budgets, scientific research — much of it done at large universities — is under attack by belt-tightening politicians. Critics think that limited tax dollars should be spent on projects with clear payoffs.

“It’s easy to be critical, and hard to see the long-term implications,” says Steve Fluharty, senior vice provost for research at the University of Pennsylvania. “Research grants are low-hanging fruit.”

He’s excited about a new opportunity to highlight scientific work with valuable payoffs, as a member of a committee awarding Golden Goose Awards, which will be given to “projects with a good ROI [return on investment], that have a positive scientific, societal or economic impact,” he explains.

Scientific associations, funding agencies and universities will nominate projects that have turned out to have significant long-term impact. “The success of any research has some unpredictability,” says Fluharty, “but some discoveries can transform our understanding of life processes, energy, etc.”

The eight members of the committee represent a variety of disciplines, including molecular biology, materials science, medicine and surgery, chemistry and physics, as well as Fluharty’s own field, neuroscience.

The Golden Goose awards are the brainchild of Sen. Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee, and the project has gotten bipartisan support. “This is critically important at this time, as we face unprecedented cuts in funding for research,” Fluharty says. 

Why study the sex lives of worms?

The award is named with a nod to the Golden Fleece Awards, which the late Sen. William Proxmire gave to highlight what he regarded as silly research.

One of Proxmire’s Golden Fleeces went to scientists researching the sex life of screwworms. It turns out that the screwworm is a deadly cattle pest, and the research ultimately saved the American cattle industry billions of dollars. Sen. Proxmire eventually apologized for calling the research a waste of money.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.