Funding creative science

Stephen Quake laments the grant-approval process of most U.S. federal funding agencies, and suggests making room for risky proposals:

I wonder if this should also be the time to rethink the basic foundations of how science is funded. Could we stimulate more discovery and creativity if more scientists had the security of their own salary and a long-term commitment to a minimal level of research support? Would this encourage risk-taking and lead to an overall improvement in the quality of science?

The NIH model Quake describes – which sets aside specific funding sources for out-of-the-box proposals – seems sensible, given additional funds for such use.