Who Should Write Grants ?

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Mon Mar 18 16:39:56 EST 1996

On 18 Mar 1996, Drmarts wrote:

> Bert Gold <bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu> wrote
> >Now, scientific research has reached the same dizzying quagmire.
> >HUGE proportions of my tax dollars intended to be used for research
> >are being siphoned by ADMINISTRATORS; and when rules outlawing this
> >unconscionable, unethical behavior are debated, these ADMINSTRATORS
> >are forcefully arguing against their implementation.
> >REFORM MUST COME, just as it did with HUD and old HEW.  It can be
> >SUDDEN and PAINFUL, or GRADUAL and less so.
> >Scientific Community, the choice is yours!
> > Bert Gold, Ph.D.                         "If only we stay with that
> principle
>  >University of California, San Francisco   which counsels us always to
> hold
>  >School of Medicine                        to the difficult, then that
> which
> > Department of Pediatrics                  now seems to us most foreign,
> will 
> > Program in Medical Genetics               become what we most trust and
>  >(415) 476-2850                            find most faithful." - R.M.
> Rilke
> Research administrator serve the following  main functions:
> - they do their best keep individual investigators and the institution in
> compliance with federal regulations. Failure to stay in compliance can
> result in debarment from receiving federal grants and contracts
> - they do their best to make sure investigators fill out application forms
> correctly. This is not always an easy job, and is absolutely thankless.
> But it keeps investigators from having their applications rejected on
> technicalities
> - they do their best to help investigators identify and approach both
> government and non-government sources of funding for research
> In summary, research administrators _serve_ the scientific community by
> facilitating the funding of research. 

GREAT, but:

If all the above is true than why not research administators
write all our applications themselves. As you say, they 'help
us avoid errors', etc. So, they know better how to write error
free ('passible') applications. Right ? So let THEM handle the w
hole job of raising money for us (researchers). After all,
this way they will be doing exaclty job they are hired for:
that is to raise money for us (reserarchers) to do OUR job
(that is research).

After all, THEY (not we) are better trained for fundraising.
This (fundraising) is not our job at all. Our job is
resaerch, not funding brockerage. Give them annually 
(approximately) one page description of what we intend to 
and let them handle the rest.    

> The need for research administrators
> has increased as government regulation of the conduct of research has
> increased. Who do you think handles the review of animal and human subject
> protocols, investigation of alleged misconduct, reporting of conflicts of
> interest, compliance with the drug-free workplace act, and all those other
> regs? 

> Researchers are already spending an inordinate amount of time just
> writing grants - surely they don't want to take on all of these other
> responsibilities as well.

Idiocity of the present 'grant writing' is that no one
seems to be questioning FOR WHOM all these proposals 
are written. 
For the bureacracy ? - it can't even read them
For other scientists ('peers') - they would rather 
      read published papers.
So, for whom ?

The answer, is of course, that the whole process is 
essentially job creation for paper shufflers. Make no 
mistake about it.

Alex Berezin

> As for charges of corruption - it seems to me you're on shaky legal ground
> unless you've got some evidence to back up those charges.
> Sherry A. Marts, Ph.D.

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