On a topic other than my new book, Beginning to End Hunger, we reprise an idea I blogged about some years back.

For one thing, it appears to be the case that those who have had much [grant money], more will be given: “Young researchers who narrowly miss out on postdoctoral grant struggle to compete with those who just qualify,” despite the fact that “candidates slightly above and below the [studied] funding cut-off had different career trajectories, even though their publication and citation records and h-index remained similar.”

The Nature piece links to similar research that concludes “…the common belief that peers in selection panels are good in recognizing outstanding talents is incorrect.” Instead, it appears that those selected for the three studied large-scale grant scheme are at best moderately likely to have better-performing research careers (“better” within the context of the measures used in the study of course) than the average of all grant rejectees, and not at all more likely to perform better than runners-up. But “recipients of the grants do have a better career than the non-granted applicants.” The authors dryly note that “This makes the observed lack of predictive validity even more problematic.”

Indeed.

 

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