Are Universities Researching Green Tech Milking the System for Multiyear Projects and Funding?

Well, I'm certainly not against green tech or alternative energy technologies, not in the least. Indeed, I believe that anytime you can do something more efficiently, and with less pollution it's a good thing. However, we've all heard that there can be too much of a good thing, and I believe that is happening now with the funding, subsidizing, and massive amounts of research dollars pouring into green technologies.

Worse, it appears that many University Research Departments are completely milking the system, and working for multiyear projects and continued funding, hoping it will go on indefinitely. The reality is it can't, we can't afford to keep funding research without breakthroughs. Often I will quiz a university researcher working on some sort of alternative energy project, and I'll ask him or her a question - they will tell me that they don't know the answer and they've never thought of that question, and that their funding is for a specific aspect of their research. I see this as an excuse.

As an entrepreneur this bothers me very much because I know if I want to stay in business and run my company, and not get broadsided by regulatory changes, or changes in the marketplace or with the competition for that matter, that I must know every single possible detail, and be able to answer every single question at the drop of a hat. If I can't do that, I will not succeed in the long run, and quite frankly I wouldn't be good enough to do what I'm doing.

It is hard for me to imagine that we don't hold academia and are university researchers to the same high standard as the marketplace holds entrepreneur's feet to the fire. In fact, maybe university researchers need more leeway to ask more questions, or they need to start thinking more like entrepreneurs, and take more notes, and learn more about their subject matter. The way I see it is if someone that knows nothing about their research, someone like me, can ask the question that they've never thought of, even though they spent 10 years researching that micro-niche in the scientific community, then something is wrong.

In fact, it seems to me that something is so wrong, that perhaps it shouldn't be my tax dollars paying for it. I am all for pure research, but I'd also like some results, and I want the very best researchers money can buy, not folks that are just trying to soak up money without performance. In the free marketplace if you don't perform you are out a business, and you go bankrupt. Entrepreneurs are therefore held to a higher standard, and forced to compete and perform. Shouldn't we expect the same from our university research departments? I think we should.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 23,850 articles by July 4, 2011 is going to be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..

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