The Big Grant Boondogle: Today’s timewaster…

May 14, 2007

I speak of the Program Projects, Center grants and the like. You know, the huge grants to big wigs incorporating several R01-equivalent projects, and assorted “Cores”. Cores being another word for “extra money for doing exactly what the lab is doing in the first place”. Don’t get me wrong, these babies are great if you happen to be getting some money through one. The hit rate is fantastic of course because for the most part the deal is fixed in advance and once funded these things (particularly Centers) keep going and going.

The annoyance, however, is the Center or Project meeting. Bad enough in normal times because they consist of about 30% science and about 70% strategerizing about funding. We’re down to the wire on one here, the review is weeks away. That means the meetings come fast and furious. Weekly. Good god how much hand wringing over an essentially done deal can we do, eh? Obsessing about how other similar Centers/Projects have faired in review. Obsessing about the politics of the special review panel. Obsessing about productivity. Etc. What a bloody timesink…

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