I know the blog has been ridic NSF-centric recently, so apologies to my foreign readers who don't give a crap on a stick about US funding. Tis' the season, however.
Two interesting (to me) things to pass on today. The first is from the DEB blog, which posted about collaborative proposals today. The moral of the story: in tight financial times, collaborate less if you want to get funded. To wit:
Such a decrease actually makes sense in the context of a limited and uncertain budget. Especially given the focus on funding rates and maximizing the number of projects awarded, programs have an incentive to spread the available funding over as many projects as possible. Programs also seek balance between multi-investigator and single investigator project awards. If multi-investigator projects with smaller collaborative groups cost less than similar projects supporting larger groups of PIs and Co-PIs, the funds saved on the less costly projects could enable more awards to be made in total.
Second interesting note came from a conversation with my PO yesterday: Everyone who was on the fence for funding in the last round was asked to re-submit a preproposal in January just in case they did not get money from the last fiscal. This way they could still resubmit a full proposal in August. For many, the money came through and their preproposal was "officially" declined in the system. BUT, not before the sring panels met this year. This served as an unintentional experiment - would the fence-sitters' preproposals get selected a second time by a different panel?
The answer, at least for my PO, was yes. Every resubmitted hoping-for-funding preproposal got reselected in the new panel, suggesting that there are not major swings in panel opinion one year to the next. I don't know how many panels that was true for, nor how many preproposals, but internal controls are always interesting.