Governments should be responsible for funding and controlling scientific research rather than private organizations. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Undertaking scientific research is imperative if countries want to progress and compete in a globalized world. However, the funding and controlling of this research remains a contentious issue. In my opinion, the government should have the predominant responsibility for this.
One of the first issues is the knowledge that we gain from research. If governments are responsible then they are driven by the need to make advances in knowledge in order to improve people’s lives. This is because they are accountable to the public and the research is paid for by taxes. On the other hand, private organizations are driven by profit. This may mean that some research that could be valuable to society may not begin because there is no monetary gain.
Another disadvantage related to this is the research process. When the funding for research comes from the same organization that can be expected to gain from a favorable outcome, there is a strong potential for biased results. Taking drugs companies as an example, governments usually require rigorous trials for new drugs that can take many years. The companies have large amounts of money invested in such research and the need for positive results is paramount. It is difficult for a scientist to remain impartial in these circumstances. However, if this is controlled and funded by governments, their accountability means that such conflicts of interest are less likely to occur.
On balance, I would argue that although it is not realistic to remove all opportunities for privately funded research, governments should have the main responsibility for the monitoring and controlling of this. Strong checks and balances need to be in place to ensure future research is ethical and productive.