Brits trial lucky-dip for research funding

The British Academy’s small research grants scheme (as in 10,000 quid) will be allocated for three years by a “partially randomised trial.” Yes it does sound like a lottery

Once applications are assessed as to-standard they go into a draw. It’s a “fairer and more transparent way of allocating limited funds to a consistently strong field of applications,”  the academy’s Ken Edmond says.

The model builds on trials in Austria, New Zealand and Switzerland. Analysis of previous rounds by Adrian Barnett from QUT and Philip Clarke (Uni Oxford) reports random allocation would have made no difference to funding awards by gender, ethnicity, institution and geography.

The academy hopes, “the transparency and simplicity of the system will help to improve research culture more generally (and) “ease the burden on applicants and research offices without impacting the quality of applications and assessment.”

In CMM Expert Opinion on Monday Professor Barnett talks about the trial and his research on random selection for funding