Wednesday 4 May 2011

100 Greatest Novels on Research Funding

Right! I've been away on the Atomic Ride for the last two weeks, and the sparkling world of research funding has moved on. Plenty to chose from when I was catching up, including an interesting item in Research Fortnight on research funding concentration. Whilst today's elite benefited from a wide dispersal of funding in the past, claims the article, they now want to kick away the ladders and concentrate the funding on the few. The article uses George Orwell, or rather Napoleon and others of his elite in Animal Farm, to help illustrate this: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Interesting point, but a missed opportunity by Research Fortnight. What a chance to mine the wider canon for literary allusions that could be used to explain the state we're in.
  • Catch 22, Joseph Heller: you have to be in a Russell Group university to get the lion's share of research funding. But in order to join the Russell Group, you need to have the lion's share of research funding.
  • The Trial, Franz Kafka: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bureaucracy of Applying for Grants.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Random Surreal Beauty of Grant Decisions.
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley: the dangers of stitching together collaborations, and how they can turn against you.
  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville: the madness and majesty of seeking the 'Great White Grant'.
I could go on. Some titles speak for themselves: Things Fall Apart, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Songs of Innocence and Experience, for instance. But that's enough of that. I need to get on with helping some rejected applicants. Now where did I put my copy of Les Misérables..?

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