Let's have a grant lottery

February 13, 1998

I WAS interested to read Les Allen's proposals (THES, February 6) for awarding research grants on the lottery principle. This would have the advantage both of dealing with the known biases of the peer review system and of coping with the ever increasing costs of administering research grants schemes.

When I was a member of the Economic and Social Research Council's research grants board a few years ago, I suggested that (after an initial screening) all grant proposals be randomly allocated either to peer review or to the lottery system (further random allocation to be funded or not). Outcome measures would be easy to devise (project completion, grading of final report, publications, etc).

The procedure I proposed (which met with a stunned silence) would have provided us with valuable information both about the effectiveness of the current peer review system and about the practical workings of the lottery principle.

Ann Oakley. Professor of sociology and social policy, director of the social science research unit, Institute of Education, University of London

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments