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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary: Identifying misplaced priorities in research


Our summer posts had a theme it seems – something we didn’t plan, but which has resulted in a small series of posts on misplaced priorities in academic research. From my post on academic bullying to Jonathan’s on the difficulties resulting from indirect costs levied by universities to our guest blogger Damien on hiring strategies in laboratories. The comments were plentiful and gave us a good indication that these problems (and proposed solutions) need to feature more frequently on the blog.

One of the comments (thanks David!) directed me to something I’d not heard of before: The Polymath Project, where problems in mathematics were crowd-sourced by Tim Gowers. This is a wonderful example of collective problem-solving ability. I wonder if it would have legs in the life sciences… But, as I mentioned in one of my posts this summer, life sciences seems to be focused on individual success/reward structures.

Jonathan and I will of course write much more about these topics in the future. But for now, let’s recap the summer’s posts:

Guest bloggers:

Damien Wilpitz:



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David Kent
Dr. David Kent is a principal investigator at the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York, York, UK. He trained at Western University and the University of British Columbia before spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge, UK where he ran his research group until 2019. His laboratory's research focuses on the fundamental biology of blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009.
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