(This post is a continuation of my post of last week and gives some better grounded data.)
As already hinted at, if you are a scholar active in Europe, you will most probably depend on funding for your projects in order to survive, given that surviving out of teaching alone is infrequent and a tenure is not foreseeable. Thus, it becomes essential to know what one's chances are.
A short comparison shows that among European countries,
- Switzerland is the one in which more money for research is granted (total amount/number of inhabitants): 88,5 E pro inhabitant each year
- Finnland is the next one: 61,1 E
- UK (Research Council UK): 48,0 E
- Neatherlands (NWO): 37,2 E
- Germany (DFG): 33,5 E
- Austria (FWF): 23,8 E
Moreover, the amount of money available per inhabitant still does not say much, since it is not said how many inhabitants apply for that money. In this sense, it seems that the acceptance rate of the German DFG is much lower than expected, whereas the Swiss acceptance rate is high, as expected:
- Swiss acceptance rate: around 50%
- Austrian acceptance rate: 25,8%
- German (DFG only) acceptance rate: around 17%
Still more interesting, especially for prospective peer reviewers are the following data:
- acceptance rate in 2008 (Austria, FWF): 43,0% (2008 was the highest peak attained, before that the rate was around 41,5%)
- acceptance rate in 2013 (Austria, FWF): 25,8%
We are forced to look for anything which looks like a critique, if we want not to go bankrupt. We know we are turning down projects we would be funding in better financial conditions.There is nothing blamable in that, but I am convinced that peer reviewers should be informed about the weight of their decisions. Anything less than "enthusiastic approval" amounts to good news for the committee, who can turn down the project. It is fine, if you think the project not to be worthy, but I, for one, will send my further suggestions directly to the applicant and not include them in my peer review the next time I am asked to review a project.
This post has been published, with minor variations, also on my personal blog.