Is it worth the time and effort to apply for grants when only a small percentage are funded? A recent paper by Kevin Gross and Carl Bergstrom (2019) suggests grant competitions in their corrent form are not worth it. We weigh in on our thoughts about the paper as well as grant funding, in general. We also briefly talk about the aspect of our jobs that motivate us to keep working. Spoiler alert: it is not applying for grants.
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Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions - Gross & Bergstrom, 2019 — "We find that the effort researchers waste in writing proposals may be comparable to the total scientific value of the research that the funding supports, especially when only a few proposals can be funded. Moreover, when professional pressures motivate investigators to seek funding for reasons that extend beyond the value of the proposed science (e.g., promotion, prestige), the entire program can actually hamper scientific progress when the number of awards is small."The inherent inefficiency of grant proposal competitions and the possible benefits of lotteries in allocating research funding