If the research councils want a "Drive for efficiency in review process" (March 10), why don't they adopt the two-stage application process that many other research funders use?
A preliminary expression of interest, one or two pages at most, reduces the time wasted in rejected application preparation and academics will be less likely to be disgruntled.
The peer reviewers will have a simpler task and, more importantly, the maverick ideas that may ultimately prove to be real advances are more likely to be submitted.
Government departments and industrial organisations use this approach, so why not research councils?
Peter Kettlewell Harper Adams University College