By Paolo von Schirach
February 21, 2013
WASHINGTON – Tech billionaires Yuri Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin joined forces to institute and support financially a new annual prize worth $ 3 million for ground breaking health science research. This is good news for America. There is widespread concern that the US is lagging behind in scientific discoveries. Rich people providing financial support to the efforts of promising scientists is a good thing.
Do more science awards make a difference?
There is in fact a proliferation of other science awards supported by corporations and other institutions. However, people who have looked into this phenomenon, (see WSJ story on this), argue that the monetary benefits are not significant enough to transform the field.
In other words, we are not going to see a massive movement of promising young minds into scientific research purely on account of the potential financial rewards that may come to them through any of these awards.
That said, hopefully these rich tech people may be able to influence others. This may start a wave. And we need one. Badly.