Friday, June 22, 2007

Knowledge Ecology International on Prizes

Recently in the comments of this Space Politics post on a big Mars prize, Anonymous (the one who eloquently dissects the problems with the ESAS implementation of the Vision for Space Exploration) presented a list of historical prizes during the discussion. The list is interesting in and of itself, so I'll provide the source here. This link is a great place to start in investigating space or other prizes, and in fact I've used some of the same references here (gained unfortunately through hard searching, not this nice page, as my original paper was written last summer). There's a good chronological description of prominent technology prizes, and then a good list of references (mostly web sites and press articles, but some academic papers too) at the end.

That list isn't the point of this post, though. This post is more to point out the prize resources available at Knowledge Ecology Interational (KEI), of which the linked page is just the beginning. Here are some more prize items at KEI:

KEI's web site has a large section on Prizes to Stimulate Innovation. A lot of the rest can be reached from this high-level page.

There are lots of KEI Blog entries on prizes. There are a number of prize-related posts here, and they probably deserve separate treatment since there is a lot there (if you follow the links).

Here is a list of KEI/CPTech papers on prizes for medical innovation. This list is followed by lots of other references on prizes for medical innovation, including a section that is mainly favorable to the idea and another section that tends to be against it. Finally there is a section on other ideas besides prizes.

One prominent KEI paper is The Big Idea: Prizes to Stimulate R&D for New Medicines.

Here's a talk that Robin Hanson gave on Why Grants Won Over Prizes in Science. From the overview of the talk: "Hanson explained that historians of science have traditionally argued that the shift reflects a recognition that grants are a superior strategy for getting innovative scientific results. But Hanson hypothesizes that ... more centralized and democratic governments tend to prefer grants, perhaps because they are more susceptible to pressure from establishment scientists and scientific societies which stand to benefit from more discretionary spending (much in the same way that such governments are more susceptible to pressures leading to “pork” spending)." Here's the Powerpoint summary and here's the paper.