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and properly written reports will manifest the needed policy implications. If the fund-granting agencies of the Government are aware of the needed balance between basic and policy oriented research and of the absence of intrinsic conflict between the two, there should be no problem.–Arnold M. Rose.

“Policy research” would seem to be the proper function of congressional committee staffs, the amounts to be spent thereon most properly determined by the committee.-K. Warner Schaie.

Sufficient funds should be expended for policy research to develop an overall plan for a balanced program of research support on aging. It is estimated that the expenditure would amount to $200,000 for 2 years.-Henry P. Schwarz.

The members of the various committees and the representatives of the gerontological and geriatric organizations as well as the public in general are fully aware of the problems of aging and of the aged. Therefore expenditures for “policy research” and theoretical discussions dealing with this topic should be kept at the lowest possible minimum. Such discussions do not increase scientific productivity, and it is no secret that the most productive scientists do not care to take part in such policy discussions.—Martin Silberberg.

Two to five percent.—Durwood J. Smith.

I doubt the advisability of alloting a specific sum for a given area of research. The number of trained workers in an area determines the amount of money which can be effectively spent in that area. “Policy research” should be supported to the degree that competent personnel are available and wish to do the research.Eugene A. Stead, Jr.

There is some question in my mind as to what is "policy research.” If policy research is another way of saying public relations research, then I am opposed to it. If by policy research is meant some types of research in which alternative plans or programs are considered with the expectation of obtaining some notion of possible divergent consequences, then I think that policy research may be justified. However, since there is suspicion of the scientific adequacies of social sciences research by some segments of the population, there is an important need to maintain the objectivity of social science investigations. The question as to how much policy research is one to which I would not hazard a guess.—Gordon F. Streib.

This is also a difficult question to answer with precision. It is my understanding that large industries frequently devote from 5 to 10 percent of their budgets for research, development, and evaluation. It would seem reasonable that governmental agencies at all levels, spending large sums of public money, should consider spending similar proportions for research in order to achieve the most effective possible expenditures of funds. Expenditures for policy research are quite common, of course, at the present time. The question would seem to be whether or not they are sufficient.-Clark Tibbitts.

We are not certain what is meant by the term “policy research" in the questionnaire. It is generally agreed that long-term support of qualified investigators produces more positive results than specific project type research. It is also generally agreed that research needs to be supported on long-term basis, and the uncertainties associated with annual grants often discourage the undertaking of long-term investigations. Many of the problems of aging require long-term research approaches.- Thomas T. Tourlentes.

With regard to item 3 it would seem that “policy research” is inevitably intertwined with political considerations and Government fiscal policies. Any such research may be best handled by privately endowed university-affiliated institutes of gerontology.-Otto von Mering.

As for other problems affecting the aged, I have never been able to understand exactly what is meant by “social science research” or “policy research.” From what I have seen going on in most of these programs, I have the impression that "patient care and welfare” is involved more than "research.” For example, followup studies on how well patients adjust to their environmental and economical situations after leaving the hospital can hardly be called research in my estimation. This service should be part of the normal care program.-C. D. West.

Question No. 4

Should large block grants be encou



Decidedly not. I am not sure that we would agree what a "large bloc” is but I believe that $10,000 a year should be the maximum for any year, and that second year studies should be amply explained. If justified, then another grant, but give the fieldman a chance to say what the next step should be. He is the only one who knows what he is doing in detail, and the time involved. It may happen that someone a long way from his field of research makes the decision on how much he gets, and when to renew or detain his grant. Big bloc grants suggest a big business enterprise, and tend to remove the attention from the objective and methodology. Another point, if the grants are kept down, say not over $10,000 a year, your funds will spread over many more institutions than they now

Further, it does happen that one big school will get several big grants at one time, while several worthy small institutions are not included in the distribution.--Chester Alexander.


In my opinion, if your are to facilitate research within a field, fairly large grants over substantial periods of time should be made. Much of the present information is based on cross-section studies; we need more longitudinal ones. I am uncertain as to the best method of making such grants, but it seems to me that the establishment of institutes or centers in a few selected geographically scattered universities, with funds that will permit plans for 5- or 10-year programs, which would give staff members protection, would do more to attract competence than any other procedure, to promote research for the next 20 years. What is needed, are substantial amounts of basic research along many lines. The way to do this is to locate younger persons who can identify strongly with the field and then turn them loose with substantial funds over a term of years. A central exchange of information from such institutes might also be desirable. Competent persons, however, do read the scientific literature and once such institutes were established, and after some preliminary conferences and discussions were organized, much of the subsequent intellectual exchange and cross-fertilization could be left to the staffs themselves. Professional research people know what is going on in their field.-John E. Anderson.

Yes, I believe that large bloc grants definitely should be encouraged.Warren Andrew.

I do not know what you 'mean by “large bloc grants.” I would think that each project, research or otherwise, ought to be judged on its own merit and on the basis of possible contributions to medicine.--Henry H. Banks.

Large bloc grants should be encouraged only if a large percentage of the funds is to be used for the salaries of investigators. The primary need in any program is to attract qualified investigators. Only centers of research can do this. However, the support of the research itself should remain in the hands of the Institutes of Health. In this way, the control of the quality of the research projects will be under the supervision of the experts who make up the study sections.Howard B. Bensusan.

Large block grants have a definite part to play but they should be limited in number especially if their cost limits the funds available for straight research projects.-Geoffrey H. Bourne.

I assume that in this question "block grants” are meant to be confined to research in the field of aging. Arbitrarily, I have in my own mind designated a block grant as one large enough to support 10 senior scientists and the cost of their projects-a minimum of $200,000 per year. A program block grant—that is, a grant which supports research in a specific area--is of considerable value in so-called need areas. The fact that gerontology is such a need area is undoubtedly responsible for the awarding of the currently existing block grants in this field.

The awarding of such block grants should be carefully considered, as the success of such a grant is very definitely dependent upon the existence of a special favorable situation. In addition to a very favorable research climate, there should be a nucleus of experienced scientists willing to work in the field of aging, who have the ability and opportunity to attract additional scientists into this area of research. The indiscriminate awarding of "block grants” will result in failure, with disappointment and disillusionment upon the part of the granting agency.Ewald W. Busse.

I don't believe large block grants should be encouraged. I believe more will result from encouraging individuals and assuring them of support over 3 or 5

In this way, there will be some real thought given to the project. Large block grants are often poorly organized, there is much talk and little work. Earl O. Butcher.


I believe that some large block grants should be encouraged. This is one way to encourage experimentation and to stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation within universities. Moreover, it should help to develop better trained persons with a wider range of experience and competence.

A major fault of present university research is the tendensy to overspecialization and fragmentation of work. It would greatly help if some cohesive element could be introduced in university research without additional paperwork, supervision, and artificial coordination. Some block grants to about 10 to 15 universities would permit the experimentation with an overall approach. I feel reasonably certain it would produce substantial dividends.-- Wilbur J. Cohen.

In the areas where block grants have been tried they apparently have been successful. I would expect better management and improved continuity under such an arrangement.–Eugene A. Confrey.

I think large block grants are to be encouraged, and particularly where at all possible, continuing grants. What we are trying to do is to get some young men to dedicate their lives to this field. If we only have short-term grants to offer we are not likely to get good young men into the field. If the projects are not large enough administration will either be very poorly handled or it will be proportionately very costly. I think a few more schools like Michigan, given large sums to administer, will get the job done better than will a whole lot of grants none of which will attract and hold first-class people.—Fred Cottrell.

The people who are doing the work consist of a few who head important university departments. When this is the case, they usually give their part-time services to the realization of specific objectives. The vast majority of the research workers have an entirely different and less dignified status. They are usually part-time members of the staff of the university, appointed only for a short time to serve in a particular project.-E. V. Cowdry.

The health and social problems of the aged are long term in nature and both current and longitudinal research projects are needed. While the allocation of large grants may be very useful in major medical centers, it must be recognized that smaller institutions of learning, which can also produce a good deal of knowledge, may not be in a position to handle large grants economically. Therefore, I believe that in addition to larger block grants, smaller and medium-size grants should also be made available.- Michael M. Dacso.

Universities like the block grant because it makes available to them funds which they can spend as they see developing needs. It permits long-term planning of research programs, frees the researchers from the time-consuming tasks of overfrequent reporting and of preparing new project applications, and makes it possible to attract better qualified personnel because longer tenure can be guaranteed. It also provides funds which can be allocated by the colleges to young scientists who have not yet attained sufficient stature to apply directly for research funds.

The fact that the National Science Foundation is beginning a block grant program this year, and that the National Institutes of Health have sought and received authority to make block grants to medical and dental schools gives testimony that there is a trend toward this type of grant program. The need is for the social sciences to have available the same type of grant program.

This will require some special legislative action if it is to be achieved.—Wilma Donahue.

Whereas the major portion of funds should be allocated specifically for the support of projects proposed by individual investigators (see above), in some cases a large block grant would be justified, e.g., for the construction of special laboratory facilities or for a joint research undertaking by several research workers or departments.-H. H. Draper.

I think there has been too much of the large block grant. Just study present results.-G. L. Freeman.

Since you inquire about my opinions in regard to research policies in the field of aging I should like to state that, in my opinion, the importance of this field is increasing continuously with the number of aging and aged persons. Continuous expansion should be, therefore, foreseen in the scope of research for the next 10 to 20 years. I should think that long-range grants would promise of better application of such a policy than large block grants. Researchers in the field of aging should be encouraged.-Leontine Goldschmidt.

I don't know enough on the subject to say. Some hard facts presumably are available (or should be collected, if not available) on the concrete results of block grants and restricted grants. Each might well have a significant role in research on aging in our society.-Marcus S. Goldstein.

In general, I believe that more efficient and fairer use of available funds is made when they are given in the form of a block grant to be administered on the local level by persons qualified to judge the merits of individual projects and individual researchers. Such a program of large block grants requires, however, that it be evident before the award is given that qualified persons with legitimate and sincere research interests in gerontology be present on the campus and that these persons be prepared and eager to undertake research on the aged. I am familiar with several instances in which large block grants have been given by foundations to certain institutions for purposes of research on some general topic (none of these are in gerontology) in which the institutions were supposedly qualified by reputation to do research. Such grants were given, however, without proper evaluation of the actual resources available for research purposes and without adequate evaluation of the types of specific research projects which would be conducted. As it turned out, the institutions which received the block grants were hard pressed to find ways to spend the money. I feel certain that the result, in these instances, is that much of the funds are being wasted on a series of projects which would not have merited support if they had been submitted directly to a grant-giving foundation or Government agency which relied on outside experts to evaluate the research proposals.-Sidney Goldstein.

If by large block grants you refer to such grants as the establishment of the aging centers at Duke University, it is my opinion that a limited number of such block grants should be supported on a regional basis.—Harry F. Harlow.

In particular I would suggest that large block grants be looked at carefully before they are made, with the question in mind of the overall adequacy of the research establishments to which the grant might be made.-Robert J. Havighurst.

Large block grants are sometimes useful and it is especially important to those of us working in this field (of aging) to have support for relatively long periods of time. I believe, however, that large block grants should be issued only when the objectives outlined in the application are justified or seem to be so.—Edgar P. Jayne.

Large block grants should be encouraged if the research project is worthy and it requires a large grant.—Robert B. Johnston.

I have a very strong feeling that a serious mistake is being made in many areas of research grants in an overemphasis upon “team” or large-staffed research. The many objections have been itemized in a recent statement by the Civil Liberties Union. My objection is not so much that universities are thereby losing some independence, but rather that the individual man and mind and creativity are being discouraged; also that it has become stylish in academic circles to equate the researcher's usefulness with the size of the grants he receives. There are, of course, needs and a place for large grants, but I would seriously urge a special division in NIH or elsewhere where one may apply for $100, $1,000, or $5,000, without feeling that he would be laughed at by his colleagues or ignored as unimportant by foundation executives, public or private.—Max Kaplan.

It might be advisable to postpone the decision on large block grants until the research conducted over a 5-year period by the university centers of Duke University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been evaluated.—John E. Kirk.

Certainly the idea of the block grant has merit but its feasibility as a means of encouraging research in aging must be studied in relation to what limited current experience there is with this type of grant. It does appear to be a promising device for the encouragement of broad research programs and as such particularly well suited for gerontological research. According to my present understanding, however, the block grant shares with other grant programs an inherent difficulty alluded to above. As a grant program it has a built-in termination date even though generous provisions for renewal may be specified. In the absence of precise criteria for the continuation of the grant beyond the specified termination date, it appears to me that these limitations make difficult the establishment of long-term commitments so essential to gerontological research. In view of this, it seems to be most desirable to develop research programs which

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