Get more winners in grant lottery 2

July 28, 2006

If Tim Birkhead is worried about the waste involved in failed grant proposals now, he had better hope that the funding councils don't include research grant income in a metrics-based system.

One reason why 70 per cent of applications fail is because people believe the benefits of getting a grant are big enough, so it is worth submitting proposals that have only a 30 per cent chance of winning funding. Under a metrics system, the benefits of getting a grant go up, since you get both the direct payment and a rise in your future funding council income. The stronger incentive to get a grant will surely lead to more applications and an even higher failure rate.

Richard Green
Birmingham University

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