Special News ReportResearch Funding

Scientists Who Fund Themselves

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Science  09 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5348, pp. 178-181
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5348.178

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Even in today's world of multibillion-dollar grant programs, a few researchers fund some of their own work--sometimes out of necessity, sometimes for the pleasure of avoiding the hassles of grantsmanship. Over the past few months, Science has sought out this small fraction of scientists who pay their own way for a glimpse of what life is like outside the traditional granting structure. They are a diverse lot. Some are angry that they are driven to self-funding as a last resort. Others share a giddy enthusiasm for conducting experiments on their own terms and revel in the joy of sidestepping the time-gobbling, logic-defying, dignity-draining grantsmanship process. To a person, they have interesting tales to tell about why they have financed their own research, the freedom it has bought them, and the limitations of this iconoclastic work style.