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Does Extra R&D Support Pay Off?

Posted July 28, 2011 1:40 PM

A recent survey shows that participation in the pan-European EUREKA program, designed to support research and development, has had a positive affect on sales and employment growth. Could a similar program create jobs in the U.S.?

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: North West England
Posts: 541
Good Answers: 61
#1

Re: Does Extra R&D Support Pay Off?

07/29/2011 5:20 AM

Sorry to be a killjoy, but this report was commissioned by EUREKA. You would not expect it to come to the conclusion that investing in the EUREKA program is a waste of time and effort. This sort of survey often (but for the benefit of European libel law, not necessarily in this case) starts with a conclusion and works backwards to find supporting evidence, ignoring any contradictory evidence that it turns up.

It reminds me of scientific tests commissioned by a major sugar producer that concluded that Saccharin is carcinogenic. Apparently if you take a bunch of lab rats, split them into two groups, one for testing and one as a control group. After you have fed each of your test group 600x their own body weight of Saccharin, a larger proportion of the test group go on to develop cancer. The testers did not say how many rats were tested, or how many of the control group developed cancer, or by how much the proportions differed. It did, however, generate headline news coverage about Saccharin giving you cancer.

I don't eat Saccharin (after all it may give me cancer) but scaling up a lab rat's body weight to equate to my own, and taking into account that Saccharin tastes 500x sweeter than sugar (quoted from a table on the web), I would need to consume the equivalent of 300 tones of sugar to replicate their findings and increase my risk of contracting cancer by maybe 1 or 2%.

That said, my beef is with the lack of independence of the surveyors, I sincerely hope that their conclusions are correct.

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