Molecular biologist Attila Chordash recently conducted a short interview with Dave Gobel, co-founder of the Methuselah Foundation. He's been determinedly working away to make this thing a success since the beginning. You can find the interview over at Pimm. His thoughts on the Mprize for longevity research caught my eye:
You put up the money and tell competitors what they need to do. The larger the prize, the more competitors. It's like an inexpensive way of being able to put chips on every single spot on a roulette table. The best way to find a solution to unknown problems is to generate high motivation among the greatest number of thinkers/actors without too much regard to reputation of the competitors - let the best outcome win - I don’t care how they dress.
Incentives make the world go round, which is why research prizes are so effective. The prospect of money and fame are wonderful motivators, as is demonstrated in the business community each and every day. It's a pity that this obvious truth is so often forgotten when it comes to the highly regulated field of medical research and development.