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It will be interesting to see how the adjudication committees respond. For example, suppose that there's a policy-centred proposal that is near the funding cut-off. They might be tempted to *not* fund it on the grounds that it would be at the top of the list for the second round.

great post.

Would be good to compare our system to the us and how it affects the research being done... that would be quite an interesting paper...

Stephen "They might be tempted to *not* fund it on the grounds that it would be at the top of the list for the second round."

Yes, as economists we always look for the perverse incentives, don't we! One thing that's not clear is whether or not that second round will actually exist, and if so how much money will be attached to it. I was just double checking, and this is what the detailed description of the insight evaluation program says:

SSHRC continues to recognize the value of research throughout all of the social sciences and humanities, as well as in its current priority areas. Applicants are asked to indicate in their application form whether their research falls within one of SSHRC’s priority areas. This information is gathered for reporting purposes and may also assist SSHRC in identifying applications for either additional support, a more tailored adjudication, or both.

Note the *may* (not "will")

John - thanks for the kind words. It would be interesting to look at the US system, unfortunately I don't know that much about it.

Of course, this may have no effect at all on economics. It's really not hard to make the link between even the most esoteric subject and policy analysis: "proper policy analysis needs proper analytical tools, and this project will provide some".

There was a SSHRC session at the CEAs in June, and from what the SSHRC representative said, these measures weren't written with economics in mind.

It's not clear that your characterization of the process is accurate. I'd like to propose a slightly different model. Note: This is just from a reading of the text presented, not from any more detailed experience or information.

The way I see it happening is that the budgeted amounts get standard review and allocation. The remaining proposals get resorted on the basis of how much do we want that question answered. Those that reach an absolute level on that scale get funded. There may be a qualifying cutoff for the quality of the researcher, and competing proposals targeting similar questions will likely be adjudicated on researcher quality.

Jim "The remaining proposals get resorted on the basis of how much do we want that question answered"

With the insight grants, the grants get scored by expert assessors and the adjudication committee on three aspects of the proposal: "Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%)" "Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (20%)" "Capability—The expertise to succeed (40%)". The scores within each of these areas are added together to get a total score. E.g. someone with a great proposal and a lousy track record would get say 38/40 on the challenge part and 10/40 on the capability part.

The priority research areas aren't actually mentioned in any of these categories, e.g. under "Challenge" projects are evaluated on, for example, "potential influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community" - there's nothing there about the priority research areas.

Having gone to the trouble of getting expert assessors and doing all of that scoring, they're highly unlikely to throw out the first round scores during any second stage assessment. Reading through one of these proposals takes hours.

Stephen - one thing I'm really curious about is how this joint management-business-economics committee is going to work. Will there be sub-committees? How many economists will be on the big committee/any sub-committees? How will the funds be divided between, say, accounting, finance, and economics? I know bilingual people have a high probability of being asked to serve on these committees so do you have any inside knowledge?

Not really - just what I heard at the CEA session.

What had really concerned me is that we'd be fighting for funding with elements in the social sciences that hate economics. I was somewhat relieved that economists would be joint with management and business types. There's some commonality there - if only because most of them will have taken a principles course.

Stephen: "I was somewhat relieved that economists would be joint with management and business types."

But those guys are so much better at marketing and entrepreneurship than we are. I would say economists are #@*&ed!

Sorry, Stephen, I agree with Nick on this one.

OK. Competition. Even better, you know the nature of the competition so you know the rules. So get better at marketing. Hire a lobbyist. Have a seminar on marketing economics research to SSHRC. Come on, you people throw these answers at the rest of us when we make comments like this about our own fields and industries.

Stop staring at your navels and do something! Come on geese, you have to have this sauce like the rest of us!

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