The Waiting Game

I thought I’d briefly don my “community service” hat and send a message to any astronomers reading this who have “responsive mode” grant applications currently under review by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Obviously I can’t discuss any details here (or anywhere else for that matter), but I’ve had a few email enquiries about when the results are likely to be known. I’m sure the chair of the Astronomy Grants Panel, Andy Lawrence (aka the e-astronomer) has had even more. It seems worth posting a brief message to make the situation as clear as possible to anyone waiting for news.

The current situation is that all the rolling grant specialist panel presentations have now finished, but the full AGP has to reconvene later in November to complete the process of assigning a final ranking to all the applications.

The process is, therefore, ongoing. It would be even if it were not for the fact that the Comprehensive Spending Review results were only announced on 20th October. It will therefore still be some time before STFC knows its budget for the next few years, and only when it knows that can it produce a delivery plan that stipulates how much of its funding will be available for research grants. And only after that is done will the Astronomy Grants Panel be able to determine its final proritisation, after which STFC will decide precisely which proposals will be funded and which don’t make the cut. In an ideal world this process would be finished by the end of this calendar year, but I’m afraid there’s quite a lot of evidence that we don’t live in an ideal world, especially as science funding is concerned.

So there you have the situation as clear as I can make it, which isn’t very clear at all. You’ll all just have to wait. The most important thing is not to assume that it’s going to be bad news if you hear nothing quickly…

Diem noctis exspectatione perdunt, noctem lucis metu.

(Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae)


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2 Responses to “The Waiting Game”

  1. “And only after that is done will the Astronomy Grants Panel be able to determine precisely which proposals will be funded and which don’t make the cut.”

    …formally this isn’t correct: we make recommendations to PPAN/STFC who then decide what they should fund.

  2. telescoper Says:

    Ian,

    Quite right. I’ve changed the text to something which more accurately reflects the situation.

    Peter

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