Wednesday, January 12, 2011

EU research proposals

“Don’t ever agree to serve as coordinator of an EU-funded multi-site research project” is something I have heard many times. The trouble is, if every day on your way to work, you pass a big lever with the words DO NOT PULL written on it, then sooner or later any self-respecting scientist...     Right now we're still in the proposal-writing stage. Communication overhead is the fundamental problem. One's email habits start to resemble nicotine addiction (“He's a 40-a-day man, he'll be off to an early grave”).

One thing I'll note for people who criticise the European Commission for wasting money, is that projects funded by the Research Executive Agency do not, seemingly, provide much opportunity for lining the pockets of the organizations involved. Then there are various audits and monitoring which I plan to worry about nearer the time, ie if we get the grant. And, we need to have industrial partners, and schemes that add value to the Phd studentships that would be supported. I'm starting to believe that it would be a pretty good opportunity for the students.

The upside, implicit in some of the above discussion, is that it's a pretty good exercise in networking. And maybe this sort of thing is easier the second time you do it, than the first. And if it gets funded, the university gets some credit for increased research income. And it might actually result in some good research...

The submission deadline is the 26th. Whatever's wrong with the proposal at that point, fortunately I won't be able to do anything about it afterwards, and will have to move on to other things.

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