Quit while you're behind

February 26, 2009

One can express nothing but admiration for those four units of assessment mentioned by Keith Richards that entered the latest research assessment exercise despite winning no funding in 2001 (Letters, 19 February). Better still, they "will probably see some funding".

My then institution entered in 1996, but gained no funding. It tried harder in 2001, but still failed. The hierarchy sensibly followed W. C. Field's dictum for such situations: "Quit: no use being a damn fool about it." How many businesses invest, then invest again, with no realistic prospect of reward?

Researchers did not need to be "poached" - they moved on, happily or otherwise.

It remains to be seen if "some funding" turns out to have been worth the candle for the intrepid four that stuck with it on this occasion.

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