Support for scientific research should accommodate the unexpected: Editorial


Science moves forward when scientists are given the space to push boundaries, ask questions, and even fail, write Thomas Merritt (Laurentian University) and Teresa Rzezniczak (Laurentian). Sharing the results of a recent study on how chromosomes physically interact, Merritt and Rzezniczak reflect that their research could not have come about without encouragement from their mentors to pay attention to unexpected outcomes, including failed experiments, and to use these failures as a launching point for further questioning. The writers stipulate that funding agencies favour projects that explicitly avoid or prevent failure and conclude that in order to be truly meaningful and dynamic, “science needs a culture that promotes risk and exploring the unexpected.”

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