Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Epic Grant Fail

After I put a lot of work into developing a grant application to try to create a position for myself (as well as applying for regular jobs) it turns out that I need someone at a university to guarantee a 50% contribution to the salary. If I got a job with them and got the grant then they might receive a 50% subsidy from the funding agency but if I don't get a job but get the grant they'd have to pay out. The expected value of this seems to be close to zero and given that I might get a job elsewhere instead (and take the application with me) the probabilities of either receiving a payout or having to make an equal contribution are quite low. But noone wants to risk it and I can understand them. The amount of money they might have to pay out is significant. It seems that the university as a whole would want to do this - maybe get an extra position half funded by a funding agency. As people leave all the time it's not neccessarily an increase in their outlays. But there is a tragedy of the commons problem here to some degree where each individual department would like to see it happen but doesn't want to put their own money up. I haven't completely given up and just sent out two "last ditch" e-mails.

The real problem here is that the grant application deadline is soon, before the jobs I am applying for will be decided

There is another fellowship I can apply for but I need to submit an "eligibility request" as a priori I'm not eligible. Apparently they make few or no exceptions. So I don't expect that will work either but we'll try.

The effort is not entirely wasted. It has helped me clarify my ideas, learn about this funding agency, and if I get a job I can make an application next year recycling the proposal I wrote this year.

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