In their guest column, Research for America, researchers Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt describe the fundamental problem with the boom-and-bust approach to science funding and its effect not only on research but, more fundamentally, on the development of future research capacity.
To that end, they propose a program like Americorps but, instead of placing young people in teaching roles, the corps would place young people in research roles.
Among the benefits could be significantly improved training for research assistants, an issue that results in disappointing performance by student-apprentices and their mentor-professors.
The idea is proposed in the field of the sciences but might have even more applicability in the social sciences.
View the entire suggestion at http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/guest-column-research-for-america/.