Fifty years ago, Monty Python’s famous sketch, ‘The Ministry of Silly Walks,’ first aired. The sketch pokes fun at the inefficiency of government bureaucracy. It opens with the Minister (John Cleese) walks in a rather unusual manner to his work, the Ministry of Silly Walks, where Mr. Pudey (Michael Palin) is waiting for him. Based on a gait analysis, a research team finds that the Minister’s silly walk is 6.7 times more variable than a normal walk.
The team points out how bureaucratic inefficiency can be likened to that of the peer-review process associated with academic research in the health sciences, particularly when applying for funding. Applying for a federal grant is extremely time consuming and can take months to prepare. An application may require a 150-page proposal followed by a review by a panel of researchers, who are often flown in for the occasion. Peer review protocols often require that the panelists must reach a consensus of 75 percent or more to approve a proposal.If the process was streamlined and grants were awarded more quickly, researchers could start their work earlier, accelerating the timeline for research. Similarly, grant administrators would recoup time and money, which could potentially free up more money for research funding.
This research team can apply your study because we don’t need the study to know that the bureaucracy is there to support friends, family and favors.