Boondoggles

December 7, 2007

The DM recently used the pejorative term “boondoggle” (Wikipedia, fwiw) to refer to the larger NIH funding mechanisms like Centers and Program Projects (the “P Series“, a comprehensive list of NIH mechanisms is here).

What think you all?  If you’ve been funded under or associated with one of these things, what are your takes? Good thing? Bad thing? Do you see consistent trouble spots for their operation?

Are they a big ol’ waste as DM seems to think?

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We’ve been discussing the degree to which insular sub-groupings of scientists protect and maintain themselves and their peers through the grant review process. We’re using “bunny hopping” thanks to whimple and the NIH CSR calls this “clustering“. Note upfront that this analysis and discussion does not necessarily require overt malicious intent on anyone’s part. The presentation at the recent PRAC meeting from Don Schneider identified the IFCN (Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience) group of study sections as top suspects in the “clustering” phenomenon. Can we derive a little more information one wonders? Read the rest of this entry »