Is Cutthroat Science Hindering Discovery?
Laboratories around the world are under fire for their lack of diversity, a culture of harassment and bullying, rigid hierarchies, and research that cannot be reproduced. Is the entire research system to blame? Our model of funding individual scientists encourages cutthroat competition rather than a cooperative infrastructure better tailored to solving our biggest problems. In a recent article for Issues in Science and Technology, NASA mission lead and Arizona State University professor Lindy Elkins-Tanton argues for a radical restructuring of the way we do research—divesting from big names and instead deploying teams to focus on big questions and ambitious goals. Can egalitarian, interdisciplinary groups of experts reshape research for the better? How will breaking away from the current model open the floodgates for more invention and discovery?
NASA’s Psyche mission principal investigator and ASU Interplanetary Initiative vice president Lindy Elkins-Tanton and Issues in Science and Technology editor in chief Lisa Margonelli visit Zócalo to talk about untethering the academic research model from the cult of personality in order to take on humanity’s biggest problems.