There has been quite a bit of discussion on physics blogs recently about the announcement of the Foundational Questions Institute grants a couple of days ago. The stated aim of the institute is:
To catalyze, support, and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.
In the blogs and comments, some have praised the choice of grantees, whilst others have criticized it for being too conservative, a waste of time, or for not including grants for some particular foundational topics that they think are important. The connection of fqxi to the Templeton foundation has also been extensively debated. Being a recipient of a grant myself, I obviously think they made at least some good choices, and am looking forward to being able to do some foundational work without having to pretend it has any practical applications in quantum information.
For those who complained about the choice of topics, I would just say that they can only work with the proposals they actually receive, so if people want to change the range of topics that are supported then I think the best way to do so is to submit a strong proposal to the next call. To other critics, I would say that the worth of fqxi should ultimately be judged by the quality of research that is produced, rather than any predjudices one might have about what makes good foundational research, and this will become clear over the next couple of years.
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