- Dec 14, 2002
- New Jersey
Actually, the NSF program directors aren’t bureaucrats per se. There is a good old boys club type scenario where the director positions, which are rotated through by academics, select their friends for grants, and then when their time (IIRC they’re three year assignments), then the new incumbent will select grants from the same folks....and? A $50K NSF grant hardly makes you an indentured servant to the man. I have applied for and received grants and there were no G-men outside my door. No one telling me what the results should be or else. No handler was assigned to me. I spent 11 years in higher education and published in several fields at several different institutions. I knew the PIs really well and worked day in and day out with them. I continue to have close friends that receive much higher levels of funding and again, no handlers, no g-men, nothing sinister.
What research areas get what budgets may be P, and influenced more, and we don’t need to go there. You mentioned grants… so it’s the program directors/officers.
Maybe more of a scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours situation. There is a semblance of rigor, and technical merit, and loosely that’s the case. But it is still a “contact sport” based upon who you know and relationships you have.
Funny also that they frown on folks who take DoD money sometimes.