Monday, 31 October 2011

The Mists Are Clearing...I See a Project of National Importance...

As ever, EPSRC is blazing a trail in developing new hurdles for potential applicants. Hot on the heels of controversially 'managing' its remit and 'managing' demand via its blacklist, the Council has just announced that, as of 15th November 2011, all applicants will have to identify the national importance of their research.

Yes, it's both Scientific Excellence AND national importance that will now be the primary assessment criteria. Impact, track record, resources and management will be secondary assessment criteria.

Reviewers and panel members have been issued with new assessment criteria/forms to reflect these changes. For applicants, the national importance section must now be included in the case for support.

Is that a collective groan I can hear from the sector? Having just got used to the concept of predicting their potential impact, they're now going to have to predict its importance.

I do like the amount of faith that EPSRC has in the visionary abilities of the scientists within its remit. I'm surprised, however, that they haven't put these abilities to better use and got them to predict the numbers for the National Lottery? It would be an excellent use of the collective brain power of EPSRC scientists if they could rustle up the Euromillions necessary to meet the 10% funding cut that resulted from the CSR flat settlement.

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