Policy pitch for introducing lotteries at the US NSF

Here is the policy memo: https://www.dayoneproject.org/post/improving-research-funding-efficiencies-and-proposal-diversity-through-nsf-science-lottery-grants


Thank you @arika.virapongse for your important work. We look forward to reading more of your work on this and other interrelated projects!

From the summary:

The tax on research productivity as PIs submit about 2.3 proposals for every award they receive and spend an average of 116 hours grant-writing per NSF proposal (i.e., “grantsmanship”), corresponding to a staggering loss of nearly 45% of researcher time; the orientation of grantsmanship towards incremental research with the highest likelihood of surviving highly competitive, consensus-driven, and points-based review (versus riskier, novel, or investigator-driven research); rating bias against interdisciplinary research or previously unfunded researchers as well as reviewer fatigue. The result of such inefficiencies is unsettling: as fewer applicants are funded as a percentage of the increasing pool, some economic analysis suggests that the value of the science that researchers forgo for grantsmanship may exceed the value of the science that the funding program supports.

This recent article makes a similar point. But the best thing is that the authors created a calculator that takes grant size and likelihood vs. application duration and salary to determine if the expected value of the grant is worth the work you plan to put into it. I will definitely be using this before deciding whether to prepare funding applications in future!