I’ve been writing up a document for the EPSRC Case for New Academics aware today; it’s an interesting award, in that it is a fairly low bar for entry, if you can get the CASE component. One of the odd things about it, though, is that you have to submit the the details of the student before you have the cash; at this stage, obviously, you can’t promise the student anything, and not having the cash you can’t advertise for the student. Bit of at Catch-22 really.

Some of the other requirements are a bit odd as well, all of which have what I think have unintended consequences. First, you can’t have been PI on any other grant; this means that you can’t really do collaborative work until you have got the first grant because it will make you ineligable for the first grant. Second, there has to be a maximum of ten years since you PhD. This tends to discriminate against people who have not been in academia continously, either because they have been involved in another career or involved in something else.

The basic idea behind these grants is good; I also understand that the research councils don’t want them to be seen as a freebie for new academics. It’s a pity that they are causing these slightly strange consequences.

Originally published on my old blog site.