MS Conferences

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Postby dignan » Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:26 am

Regarding a prize for coming up with better MS treatments / a cure - this organization is going to continue on with the X Prize program and is looking for suggestions (see below).

http://www.wtnxprize.org/

About The WTN X PRIZE

The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

The X PRIZE competition focused on jumpstarting a private space industry has re-proven the principle – strongly proven in the early years of the 20th century for the aviation industry – that innovation can indeed be catalyzed. That principle can and should be extended to other global challenges and opportunities and together we at the World Technology Network (WTN) and the X PRIZE Foundation are committed to doing just that.

What challenges/opportunities should be selected?

Although the idea of using the X PRIZE concept work in other areas is at first glance a simple and attractive one, a great deal of up-front thought needs to go into what challenges/opportunities would be selected. One could argue that there were certain qualities about the challenges and opportunities in both the aviation field and the space field that lent themselves extremely well to a private sector competition of the sorts which have occurred. Variables to be looked at might include:

* The maturity (or lack thereof) of the technology around which the competition would be based?
* The maturity (or lack thereof) of the related industries from which a new industry would be born
* The number of potential “competitors” potentially able to meet the challenge or at least the depth of the pool from which potential competitors could be drawn
* The level of the specificity of the challenge
* The financial resources potentially available to finance the potential competitors
* The financial resources potentially available to finance the Prize itself
* How potentially compelling and exciting is the field around which the challenge would be based
* The amenability of the target area to a threshold change in public expectation
* The replicability of the challenge to other areas?
* The level of the presumed long-term benefit to business and society

The list of questions above is by no means exhaustive, but does give a sense of how the selection of a new challenge is not as first as simple as it may seem. It is absolutely key that the right challenges are selected – sufficiently exciting to compel hearts and minds, sufficiently ambitious to reach beyond what is already likely going to occur soon and to have a truly substantial impact, and sufficiently focused to have a good chance of succeeding within a reasonable timescale.

Potential types of challenges?

Here is a very rough and incomplete list of the sorts of challenges that might be appropriate:

* Medical challenges, such a cure for cancer or other major diseases.
* Technological “holy grails”, such as artificial intelligence, teleportation, molecular assemblers (true nanotechnology), cold fusion, or a believable virtual reality system
* Major global challenges, such as the various UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) announced by the world’s leaders at the UN in 2000 at the Millennium Summit.

Why We Are Asking You For Suggestions?

There are over billions of people on the planet, almost each of whom has a dream for a better world. The chances of us finding a truly worthwhile series of challenges for the WTN X PRIZE competitions over the coming years are that much greater the more suggestions we receive. We are asking you because your dreams are the repository of an enormous amount of creativity and hope. In the spirit of man’s first reach into space, we ask you to stretch your imagination to help take humanity to the next level. Are you up to the challenge?
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Postby OddDuck » Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:40 am

You know, whatever happened to striving to win the Nobel Prize? There is a Nobel Prize for Neuroscience given each year.

Has the criteria for becoming eligible for such a prize been somehow placed out of too many innovative thinkers' reach? Is it now not thought of as prestigious an award as in years past? Or has greed and the mighty dollar and various sundry methods of obtaining that might dollar easily simply overtaken ethics and values? Is there a lack of self-confidence, dedication and/or drive in medicine these days?

Makes you wonder................. :?

In other words, we already have "reward" systems in place, and it seems to not have made as big of an impact as hoped; otherwise, why the subject of this thread in the first place (i.e. ways of spurring motivation for better research, drugs, etc.)?

Or might "recognition" be a better motivator? I do see where that's what the pharma companies employ in enticing doctors to join them. "Recognition". More INSTANT gratification and recognition. It sounds harsh, but it's a strategy of "putting their name in lights" sort of thing.

(I keep editing this.......LOL) As a matter of fact, and I forgot until just now, that's the very tactic we used when recruiting physicians for managed care, to sign agreements to act as medical directors of new clinics, etc. We enticed them with the recognition factor. OH! And "power"! Power and recognition! LOL Geez, I forgot about that!

Deb
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Postby raven » Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:20 am

Hmmm, the way I see it there already is an X-Prize. It's called a patent and is worth significantly more than the Ansari prize. But getting people to work together? I can't imagine that the various teams competing for the X-Prize shared their toys either. Taking the analogy further the eventual winner was hardly the most innovative of the contestants, just did enough to get past the post and claim the prize (and a boat load of new investment). As far as a commercial spaceship goes it's about as near as the interferons are to an MS cure.

Like the financial incentive, recognition is a double edged sword. Those likely to be able to contribute, probably already have a reputation to maintain. Would they risk their already hard won reputations on speculative research?

In the UK banking industry it used to be the case that if someone stayed in a position long enough they were automatically promoted, regardless of ability or talent. Such a system certainly explains my current neurologist :?

I think oddDuck is right, the only way to effect change is going to be at the legislative level. There is not enough incentive for the system to change otherwise.

Robin
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Postby OddDuck » Sat Oct 09, 2004 11:44 am

Like the financial incentive, recognition is a double edged sword. Those likely to be able to contribute, probably already have a reputation to maintain. Would they risk their already hard won reputations on speculative research?


Robin,

You're correct. I had come to the same conclusion (while still pondering after I had posted. LOL) And I believe that is what we are seeing. That infamous "Catch 22". It seems to be either one end of the spectrum or the other, doesn't it? Hence, why I do keep coming back around to the legislative level, I guess.

And thank you for your gracious support. Nice to meet you, by the way!!

:P

Deb
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Postby raven » Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:49 pm

Nice to meet you too Deb

To be honest I'd been lurking for quite a while before joining and your posts have always been a highlight. Along with those of Finn and Felly to name but a few.

The only problem with the legislative approach is the campaign funding / lobby / jobs. Money talks as much in politics as elsewhere. In fact even more so.

:cry:
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Postby OddDuck » Sat Oct 09, 2004 1:04 pm

Boy, I hear ya there, Robin! I chuckled over Harry's comment in another thread, I think, about where the pharma corp.'s U.S. presidential campaign contributions might be going right about now. :wink:

Hey.....couldn't you just see me as a lobbyist? Now THERE'S a chuckle!!! HAH!

Deb

EDIT AGAIN: You know what I just realized, though??? That's what my hierarchy at work keeps pushing me toward! They want me up FRONT in the legislative action arena, and I keep trying to stay behind the scenes. Good heavens! That cracks me up suddenly!!!
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