These are good suggestions. I like particularly the idea about funding people rather than projects. This could be combined with the suggestion of reforming NIH intramural research by appointing the most productive, senior extramural people as “NIH researchers” as the NIH version of Howard Hughes Investigators, and getting rid of all the actual at-the-NIH intramural research. I think there is already a sense that for the most productive people, their grants are already funded (or used to be anyway) largely on the basis of who they are regardless of how good a grant they submit is (less true today though), so why not make that explicit policy?
aah, yes. going after the intramural programs. I think I’d forgotten about this one because I just haven’t heard much about this lately. Still, this is a common refrain of the extramural researchers- they aren’t peer reviewed and therefore they are inferior.
so why has HHMI just created an intramural program then?
I like the suggestion about “querying the applicant” though. I believe the MRC in GB does a version of this where the applicant is supplied with critiques and can respond prior to the final evaluation. On the face of it this would obviate the need for what are very minor revisions.
Problem is, of course, that this assumes that reviewers are genuinely concerned about fixable problems. In many if not most cases these are just the excuse for sending it back. Again and as always, for those of you not currently reviewing, this is not pernicious. This is the necessary way to deal with a very large number of very good applications. So I think changing the ability to respond to critique prior to review is going to be a bandaid of small effect. It needs to be coupled to a firm preference for first-submissions.
the funny thing about ranting, err, I mean blogging, is that the limiting factor is basically the speed of touch typing. or so i find. in case you were wondering about a certain low standard for coherence and completeness of thought, well, there you have it. unlike yourself there’s no real obligation for a professional standard of effort 🙂
not so much with the whole paper and grant writing thing…