[Humanist] 24.889 effects of assumptions about grant-funding

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Apr 18 07:16:48 CEST 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 889.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2011 07:43:50 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: effects of assumptions

I don't think it's fair to overlook all the honest effort that goes into
evaluating grant proposals, devising competitions, managing the funds &c.
Giving away allocated money and everything associated with it is not an easy
job. There must be a fair amount of satisfaction in helping to create major
research initiatives and to sponsor individual projects. Hardly a day goes
by that I am not consciously grateful for JSTOR, others for Perseus and so

The point of my earlier note, however, wasn't the justice or, I suppose 
sometimes injustice, with which funds are dispersed. Rather it was how our 
own reliance on the awards of funding as a measure of academic worth is 
itself worth critical examination. As a starting point for discussion let us 
assume that ALL awards are well deserved and fairly given.

My question, then: is this the way to encourage the kind of work we most
admire, that has done us the most good overall? Do we get the best from
requiring (a) a cogent case for a known result; and (b) deliverables within
a fixed and relatively short time-span? Do we really want research that is
not grant-funded, for whatever reason, to be thought second-rate? What *is*
the proper role for grant-funding? What does it or could it signify?


Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's
College London; Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western
Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org);
Editor, Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

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