Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bids, not Blogs – nor Research or Articles

Thought I'd just post a brief thing to explain why there has been no new post in a while. The explanation is familiar to all who have come into closer contact with the world of academic research: I'm at the moment heavily engaged in what is nowadays by universities and governments considered to be the most precious of research tasks – namely the authouring and submission of applications for monetary funding to do research. That's right, the government research budget is used for paying me a salary so that I can apply for money to actually do that which motivates the research budget in the first place. This idea is expressed, e.g., by performance indicators governing how much government funds will be allocated to my university, faculty and department next year – where the attraction of external funding is by far the most important one (since it weighs the most by far in terms of money next year). So, in effect, besides teaching two minor courses and perhaps being able to submit one of the several papers I have been unable to finish due to this allocation of tasks by my employer, this is what my working spring will be about: being paid money for maybe (or, since the competition is deadly, rather unlikely) getting some money to do the very thing I would have been doing with my working time had I not been tasked primarily to write applications.

I'm not the only one sensing irrationality and counterproductivity in this way of the world, as you can see.