Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The costs of VR fund applications. Tell me I'm wrong...

One of the main Swedish funding agencies is called the Vetenskaprädet (VR). They just reported the number of applications in their big funding round of this year: 4606! That's is a staggering number. I decided to do some math here. Let's assume each proposal took about one week of effort, possible shared between two or more scientists. Let's assume the rate of one week of scientist at a Swedish university is about 1000 euro (so, including common overhead). That means that it costed the scientific community more then 4.6 million euro to apply for funding this year! Wow! Consider that amount 12% gets awarded (10% at any university, and 20% at KI where I work), that means that about 3.5 million euro was wasted making scientists learn to write grant applications... well spent indeed!

Now, I truly hope I am making some stupid mistake in my argumentation here... I don't like to thing what that amount of funding in one year could do for Open Source cheminformatics... (Oh, and this excludes the money needed to actually read these proposals, though they do not actually read all.)