Using Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Canada (NSERC) statistics, we show that the $40,000 (Canadian) cost of preparation for a grant application and rejection by peer review in 2007 exceeded that of giving every qualified investigator a direct baseline discovery grant of $30,000 (average grant). This means the Canadian Federal Government could institute direct grants for 100% of qualified applicants for the same money.The first thing that struck me was the $40000 cost for grant application and peer review. That seems ridiculous - almost as ridiculous as the fact that it costs more to review the grants than the money being given out. I also had some of the same concerns regarding quality control - but apparantly these are discussed in the paper itself. Unfortunately, I don't have access so I haven't read the full text, but Coturnix at A Blog Around the Clock has, and has made some detailed comments about the paper and the eliminating the peer review of baseline grants. One of the authors has also joined the discussion there and is offering reprints to those who want to join the conversation.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A reader email pointed us to this story (which was also discussed briefly on Sandwalk). A paper published in Accountability in Research (abstract only, subscription required) takes a look at NSERC statistics and finds that the costs for grant application and peer review exceed the cost to give every applicant a grant of $30000.