FIGURE 9.1. Policy decisions concerning the support of research in neuroscience are at least as complex as the scientific field itself. Source: Jerry Van Amerongen, 1984©. Reprinted with special permission of King Features Syndicate, Inc.

rent knowledge to these ends, and to continue extending that knowledge, is hardly in doubt.

It is in response to the question “What can be done?” that expert opinions diverge, because neuroscience faces far greater opportunities in research than there are resources to carry them out. Research questions that could scarcely have been conceived 10 or 15 years ago, much less investigated fruitfully, can now be explored. The theoretical context—in neurology, in molecular biology, and in genetics—is in place, and the technology—whether in cloning, magnifying, or imaging with pinpoint accuracy—is available. But the likelihood that such investigations can be sustained over a long period is less assured than in the past. True, the strain on resources in neuroscience research can be seen as a measure of success, both in attracting a generation of talented workers and in yielding many lines of inquiry worthy of their attention. But such success must seem a mixed blessing, at best, to the young researcher who hears that these days less than one in four grant proposals may be funded. (Many more than this are of excellent quality and are actually approved, but simply do not rank high enough on the list to receive funding in a time of limited resources.)

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