Prof-like Substance picked up on something I've been neglecting to cover after a correspondent* sent me the link. A policy from a funding agency which is intended to cut down the peer review burden. A policy with very nasty implications.
Prof-like Substance wondered what would happen if the NSF adopted a similar policy:
if NSF were to put this policy in place it would completely change the way I apply for funding. As of right now, I have two different grants under consideration at NSF and I plan to submit another in July. I submitted my first one last July, before I arrived here, and that one was not funded and did not receive very high ratings because of the lack of preliminary data. If the resubmitted version of this grant (submitted in January) and the most recent grant that just went in (two weeks ago) were to be similarly ranked, I would essentially be shut out from funding for the following two years. Rather than getting feedback on different proposals that as a new investigator, I would instead either have to change my research focus and apply to a different agency (a scenario where having preliminary data would be unlikely) or be looking at shutting down the lab and finding work elsewhere.
The EPSRC says that scientists will not be allowed to apply for research funding for 12 months if, in the past 2 years, they have had three or more proposals ranked in the bottom half of a funding prioritization list, and also have less than 25% of all their proposals funded in that time.
EPSRC is the largest U.K. funder of engineers and physical scientists, handing out grants totaling more than £475 million in 2007-08 to more than 3200 researchers....After rejecting options such as charging for proposal submissions or placing quotas on institutions, on 12 March the council announced a new policy ...EPSRC notes that this policy should exclude about 200 to 250 people and is retroactive: Letters to those excluded go out on 1 April, and their proposals won't be considered after 1 June...Reid says the idea is to weed out the small number of scientists who submit multiple, poor applications; the estimated 5% excluded submit 10% of applications, says EPSRC. "They're operating a scattergun approach" and placing a "huge burden" on the peer-review process, Reid says. He adds that EPSRC consulted with university officials who expressed a desire to know which researchers need mentoring to help them obtain funding.
Simple question: If this policy had been in place at the NIH would it have affected you at any time in the past or present, DearReader?
I am going to have to go back and crunch my grant numbers because I bet it would have applied to me at some point. I for sure have amassed "3 or more" proposals with triages within a 2-year interval. I'll have to check on the overall 25% thing but I bet I would have qualified at some point for the penalty box if NIH was doing this nonsense.
...and yeah, in my job type a 1-year ban from even submitting would likely have put me out of my career.
Go play over at PLS....