A very interesting text, by Jan Blommaert:
“... We had set up an international consortium earlier on, did profound content preparation, and one of our team members spent hundreds of hours and several international trips worth several thousands of Euros preparing the application. (…)
My guess is that many millions’ worth of (usually) taxpayers’ money will have been used – wasted – in this massive and mass grantwriting effort. Several hundreds of researchers will have been involved, each spending dozens if not hundreds of their salaried working hours on preparing the application, and hundreds of university administrators will have been involved as well, also spending salaried working hours on the applications. These millions of Euros have not been used in creative and innovative research – they weren’t spent on doing fieldwork, experiments or tests, nor on writing papers and holding presentations in workshops and symposiums. They were spent on – nothing. (…)
By awarding just 1,3% of the applications, thus, a rather thoroughly absurd reality is shaped: almost 99% of the competing academics in the EU do not make the mark, and just 1,3% satisfies the EU benchmark. Now, we know that the 98,7% “losers” still have to compete in order to show that they are good enough; but when a selection bottleneck is thàt narrow, the effort, and the resources invested into it, are in effect simply wasted.
The paradox is clear: by going along with the stampede of competitive external funding acquisition, almost all universities across the EU will lose not just money, but extremely valuable research time for their staff. (…)”