AGU position statement on the need for balance between small and large science


  • Anonymous


A proper balance of government support between science carried out by individuals or small teams of investigators and large scientific data gathering programs is critical to maintaining the health of scientific research.The scientific enterprise has always shown the highest levels of success because of the synergism generated between these two activities. Research done by individuals or small teams of investigators, sometimes called "small science," has been crucial for many of the important discoveries made in all branches of science.These discoveries provide the fundamental basis for the application of scientific knowledge to national economic and societal goals. Small science helps define the goals and directions of large scientific data gathering projects. In turn, these data feed and are often best synthesized and interpreted by the long-term efforts of the small science community In addition, because small science is typically done at universities, it provides students with an integral involvement in defining and solving scientific problems. Any erosion in government support for small science would therefore weaken not only the entire scientific enterprise, but also our future ability to utilizescientific information for the national good.