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Research funding systems need more research themselves

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life,” said Charles Darwin. One can only imagine what the naturalist would have made of the time today’s researchers spend filling out grant applications and the knock-on impact on their own, and society’s, ability to pursue big discoveries.

The issue of effort versus reward in research funding systems is not new, but it is coming into increasingly sharp focus. This is due to a cocktail of challenges facing the sector, including pressure on spending from governments, funders and institutions alike, and the precarity of research careers that are too easily curtailed by failure in a handful of bids for funding.

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