Do you feel good about getting that National Institutes of Health (NIH)? You should. As government has spent billions on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach promoting the idea that only government-funded science is real science, the rolls of those wanting to stay in academia have ballooned. Grants are more competitive than ever so if you got one, you beat out up to nine other people.
Does that mean that taxpayers are getting the best value for their money? Perhaps not. A new study finds that the NIH is no better at picking beneficial projects than if researchers were just picked in a lottery.