Judging success in funding medical research [Philanthropy Journal]

Many charities are funding applied medical research — trying to turn scientific discoveries into new treatments.

How can the governing boards of these charities determine whether their efforts have been successful?

It is not realistic to judge applied research on whether it produced a cure for a major disease.

But it also is not sufficient to say: “Our scientists and smart and hardworking, so continue to give them grants.”

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Bob Pozen is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. His latest book, Extreme Productivity, is now available at your favorite local or online bookstore.

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