View From The Trenches

William Tivol tivol at
Mon Jul 17 17:34:18 EST 1995

U27111 at wrote:

: >The need to get "preliminary data" for a grant application, before
: >a deadline!, is a recipe for disaster.

: But preliminary data for a grant is the last vestige for
: 'attempting' to assure monies is being spent efficiently.  If you
: think the honor system doesn't work with the presentation of
: preliminary data... imagine it without that - we wouldn't even have
: something to, at the very least, 'check' on validity.  I agree a
: lot gets through - but can you imagine the amount of garbage
: 'theories' which may get funded otherwise.

	I think I can judge which ideas are good, which are nonsense, and which
are somewhere in between.  If I am on a study section, it will be in my field,
and I will have no trouble composing a ranking for the ideas.  If I am in
doubt, I will rank the idea lower.  If prelim data assuages that doubt, the
score goes up.  The study sections should be able to come up with reasonable
rankings, the more so if the applications are shorter and less complex.  A
study section meeting might, then, be a discussion and, yes, study of the ideas
presented to them.

: Throughout the editorial, emphasis is placed on the fact that the
: results are only "preliminary", that they represent only an
: "interim analysis".  The point is made: "The full report of this
: trial is awaited."

	If such a big trial can generate such prelim data and still come out so
differently, that is a good argument that prelim data will not assure that mon-
ies are being spent efficiently.

: I'll leave this one to be commented by Trivol... if he chooses.

	I didn't comment since the situation is as absurd as described.  We let
all our 32P waste decay--it's the best way to deal with it.  Taking 32P out of
a landfill and leaving all the 40K (naturally occuring in concrete, etc.) in
makes no sense.
				Bill Tivol

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