27 August 2013 8 Comments
A colleague once boasted to me that she had pulled together an ARC Discovery over a weekend.
I asked if she thought the application had a chance of being awarded. She shrugged and said she didn’t care; she was under pressure to submit an ARC application and that was what she was doing.
Even then, before my life as a research grant developer, I immediately thought, “Well, that’s a waste of everyone’s time.”
Yes, major grant systems are overloaded and under-resourced.
Yes, many excellent and worthy projects go unfunded.
And much that is not so excellent or worthy goes unfunded, too. I would venture to say that these should never have been submitted in the first place.
You can’t write a great major grant application from scratch in a weekend.
You just can’t.
As I’ve become more experienced on this other side of the fence in the area of research development, this fact has crystallised.
Even if you devote the whole weekend’s 48 hours to pulling it together, it won’t be great. It might be eligible and compliant, but chances are it’ll be flabby, inconsistent, and unpolished.
In other words, half-baked.