On a recent Blog on Guardian’s Occam’s corner (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/occams-corner/2013/apr/02/1) Jenny Rohn contemplates on the inefficiency of grant system: it simply takes too much time from research, especially from new faces in the game.
“But how does a younger scientist with a shorter track record, whose “excellence” might not yet be apparent, get his first grant? It must be a lot like getting your first break as a popular musician – except unlike a bloke with a guitar, scientists can’t film themselves on YouTube performing experiments in their bedroom to garner a reputation. Instead, they need grant money to produce the results that get turned into papers, which in turn prove their excellence – but without the grant, they’ll never get off the ground in the first place.” — Jenny Rohn, Occam’s Corner, Tuesday 2 April 2013
However, to me, there appears to be some simple solutions that would help the grant system to work at least a bit less bumbily:
One idea on a national level could be to have a portal for all research grants: One form for the application that can be retouched when needed and sent to all the grant handling foundations and institutes for each round of application they might have. Just tick the boxes of what your field is and what type of grant you are after, and the portal would handle the rest.
Another would be for universities and fund giving organizations to co-operate on grant applications. The universities collect all the data on research anyway. So, if, instead of filling in the same information over and over again, there was a way to convert that pre-existing university database directly into a grant application, it would be a real life saver.
Any more suggestions?