I came across a very interesting article about `big science’ by a geneticist Bill Amos. He makes a few points which I agree with – some of them I mentioned before in a previous post about putting all our eggs in one basket.
The main point is about how we are moving towards a world where research funding goes to a few large groups, rather than to many small groups. We put all our eggs into a few baskets. One obvious consequence is that a greater percentage of scientists will have no research funding. The detrimental consequences of this are many, such as good scientists leaving the country.
It makes good sense to ask whether this practice of big science leads to good science. What exactly will throwing ever larger amounts of money at a problem solve? Further, does it lead to good training of our PhD students? Are they trained to be innovative thinkers and leaders when they are a junior member of a huge team?
Another interesting point refers to value for money. In my experience, small grants to small research groups provide much better value for money than large grants to large groups. In a small group, with a small grant, each penny has to be counted and there is very little wastage.