To apply or not to apply: a survey analysis of grant writing costs and benefits.

Published on Mar 4, 2015in PLOS ONE2.776
· DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0118494
Ted von Hippel6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach),
Courtney von Hippel17
Estimated H-index: 17
(UQ: University of Queensland)
We surveyed 113 astronomers and 82 psychologists active in applying for federally funded research on their grant-writing history between January, 2009 and November, 2012. We collected demographic data, effort levels, success rates, and perceived non-financial benefits from writing grant proposals. We find that the average proposal takes 116 PI hours and 55 CI hours to write; although time spent writing was not related to whether the grant was funded. Effort did translate into success, however, as academics who wrote more grants received more funding. Participants indicated modest non-monetary benefits from grant writing, with psychologists reporting a somewhat greater benefit overall than astronomers. These perceptions of non-financial benefits were unrelated to how many grants investigators applied for, the number of grants they received, or the amount of time they devoted to writing their proposals. We also explored the number of years an investigator can afford to apply unsuccessfully for research grants and our analyses suggest that funding rates below approximately 20%, commensurate with current NIH and NSF funding, are likely to drive at least half of the active researchers away from federally funded research. We conclude with recommendations and suggestions for individual investigators and for department heads.
Figures & Tables
  • References (14)
  • Citations (15)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
1 Author (Matt Hoy)
3 Authors (Nicholas Graves, ..., Philip Clarke)
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
61 CitationsSource
Women make up over one-half of all doctoral recipients in biology-related fields but are vastly underrepresented at the faculty level in the life sciences. To explore the current causes of women’s underrepresentation in biology, we collected publicly accessible data from university directories and faculty websites about the composition of biology laboratories at leading academic institutions in the United States. We found that male faculty members tended to employ fewer female graduate students ...
126 CitationsSource
#1Narasimhan Danthi (NIH: National Institutes of Health)H-Index: 7
#2Colin O. Wu (NIH: National Institutes of Health)H-Index: 47
Last. Michael S. Lauer (NIH: National Institutes of Health)H-Index: 87
view all 4 authors...
Rationale:Funding decisions for cardiovascular R01 grant applications at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) largely hinge on percentile rankings. It is not known whether this approach enables the highest impact science. Objective:Our aim was to conduct an observational analysis of percentile rankings and bibliometric outcomes for a contemporary set of funded NHLBI cardiovascular R01 grants. Methods and Results:We identified 1492 investigator-initiated de novo R01 grant applica...
47 CitationsSource
The federal sequester has exacerbated an already grim research funding crisis. The continued budget cuts have had a widespread effect on all researchers in biomedical science, but the impact is especially keen on trainees who are deciding whether or not to stay in science. Steps must be taken to bolster young researcher morale, career options and funding to ensure the continued advancement of biomedical science in this country.
3 CitationsSource
5 CitationsSource
2 CitationsSource
#1Lucinda Barrett (University of Salford)H-Index: 7
#2Peter Barrett (University of Salford)H-Index: 43
Career progression for women academics to higher levels is not in proportion to their representation within the profession. This paper looks at theories about this and relates them to current practices within universities for allocating work. The management of workloads can disadvantage women through a number of interactive factors. Interruptions in continuity of employment and fractional contracts can work to exclude or hinder research activity, an area pivotal for higher progression. The issue...
64 CitationsSource
#1Michael R. Martin (Center for Scientific Review)H-Index: 1
#2Andrea N. Kopstein (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)H-Index: 6
Last. Joy M. JaniceH-Index: 1
view all 3 authors...
There has been the impression amongst many observers that discussion of a grant application has little practical impact on the final priority scores. Rather the final score is largely dictated by the range of preliminary scores given by the assigned reviewers. The implication is that the preliminary and final scores are the same and the discussion has little impact. The purpose of this examination of the peer review process at the National Institutes of Health is to describe the relationship bet...
18 CitationsSource
#1Va ArlingtonH-Index: 1
602 Citations
#1Herbert W. Marsh (University of Oxford)H-Index: 126
#2Upali W Jayasinghe (UNSW: University of New South Wales)H-Index: 19
Last. Nigel W. Bond (University of Western Sydney)H-Index: 10
view all 3 authors...
Peer review is a gatekeeper, the final arbiter of what is valued in academia, but it has been criticized in relation to traditional psychological research criteria of reliability, validity, generalizability, and potential biases. Despite a considerable literature, there is surprisingly little sound peer-review research examining these criteria or strategies for improving the process. This article summarizes the authors' research program with the Australian Research Council, which receives thousa...
162 CitationsSource
Cited By15
#1Alessandra Frau (University of Liverpool)H-Index: 2
#2John Kenny (Teagasc)H-Index: 16
Last. Chris Probert (University of Liverpool)H-Index: 35
view all 11 authors...
Microbial ecology studies are often performed through extraction of metagenomic DNA followed by amplification and sequencing of a marker. It is known that each step may bias the results. These biases have been explored for the study of bacterial communities, but rarely for fungi. Our aim was therefore to evaluate methods for the study of the gut mycobiome. We first evaluated DNA extraction methods in fungal cultures relevant to the gut. Afterwards, to assess how these methods would behave with a...
4 CitationsSource
#1Clovis Mariano Faggion (WWU: University of Münster)H-Index: 10
#2Nikolaos Nikitas Giannakopoulos (University of Würzburg)H-Index: 14
Dental meetings are important venues for sharing knowledge and experiences among researchers and clinicians. The costs for participating in such events, however, are high and have increased over the years. This opinion paper discusses the fairness of such a policy, with high costs for researchers presenting their findings, as well as some suggestions to reduce the economic burden of participants actively involved in presenting their research findings.
#1Miguel Navascués (Austrian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 2
#2Costantino Budroni (Austrian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 12
We propose a funding scheme for theoretical research that does not rely on project proposals, but on recent past scientific productivity. Given a quantitative figure of merit on the latter and the total research budget, we introduce a number of policies to decide the allocation of funds in each grant call. Under some assumptions on scientific productivity, some of such policies are shown to converge, in the limit of many grant calls, to a funding configuration that is close to the maximum total ...
#1Debra Nestel (University of Melbourne)H-Index: 32
#2Kevin Kunkler (University of North Texas Health Science Center)
Last. Mark W. Scerbo (ODU: Old Dominion University)H-Index: 26
view all 5 authors...
A main reason for writing a research proposal is to obtain funding or other non-monetary support. For this chapter, the purpose and predominant theme of writing a research proposal is for obtaining funds to support the research project. Many of our readers already know there is no one research proposal “formula” that can be applied to all funding applications. Many of the opportunities and application processes have similar steps and may request much of the same information, however one should n...
#2Rita Gill SinghH-Index: 2
Last. Alex Chun KoonH-Index: 6
view all 3 authors...
#1Daniel Bearup (UKC: University of Kent)H-Index: 7
#2Dylan Z. Childs (University of Sheffield)H-Index: 1
Last. Robert P. Freckleton (University of Sheffield)H-Index: 58
view all 3 authors...
Restricting application rates is an attractive way for funders to reduce time and money wasted evaluating uncompetitive applications. However, mathematical models show that this could induce chaotic cycles in total application numbers, increasing uncertainty in the funding process. One emergent property is that smaller institutions spend disproportionally more time unfunded.
#1Finn Jørgensen (Nord University)H-Index: 12
#2Thor-Erik Sandberg Hanssen (Nord University)H-Index: 5
This paper first briefly reviews the worldwide development of the size of the university sector, its research merits and authorities’ use of incentive systems for its academic staff. Then, the paper develops a static model of a researcher’s behaviour, aiming to discuss how different salary reward schemes and teaching obligations influence his or her research merits. Moreover, special focus is placed on discussing the importance of the researcher’s skills and of working in solid academic environm...
2 CitationsSource
#1Kevin W. BoyackH-Index: 29
#2Caleb Smith (UM: University of Michigan)H-Index: 1
Last. Richard KlavansH-Index: 22
view all 3 authors...
Citation analysis and discourse analysis of 369 R01 NIH proposals are used to discover possible predictors of proposal success. We focused on two issues: the Matthew effect in science--Merton's claim that eminent scientists have an inherent advantage in the competition for funds--and quality of writing or clarity. Our results suggest that a clearly articulated proposal is more likely to be funded than a proposal with lower quality of discourse. We also find that proposal success is correlated wi...
2 CitationsSource
#1Sarah Chobot Hokanson (BU: Boston University)H-Index: 1
#2Bennett B. Goldberg (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 41
Abstract Early career advantages in academia tend to accumulate, providing future advantages to postdocs as their careers continue. Cumulative advantages can begin as early as in the training stage, where opportunities for success are primarily influenced by whether or not trainees have access to be engaged, positive and supportive mentoring relationships. Strong postdoc–faculty relationships have been demonstrated to influence the postdoc's career satisfaction and success (Davis, 2005) but can ...
Stakeholders in the science system need to decide where to place their bets. Example questions include: Which areas of research should get more funding? Who should we hire? Which projects should we abandon and which new projects should we start? Making informed choices requires knowledge about these research options. Unfortunately, to date research portfolio options have not been defined in a consistent, transparent and relevant manner. Furthermore, we don’t know how to define demand for these o...
9 CitationsSource