Underlying Assumptions and Grant Evaluation
“Scientific Merit is the minimum qualification for funding.”
Consensus of Opinion
At least 85% of the survey respondents agreed with the following statements:
- It is useful to score scientific merit using individual components.
- Scientific merit is a good predictor of a project's potential value.
- Qualities such as impact on breast cancer and innovation can be measured and predicted by peer review.
- Collaborative research can be driven by grant funding.
- Career development can be driven by grant funding.
75% believe important breast cancer research conducted does not have to be within existing, recognized topics.
Those who disagreed with this statement primarily said that the current breast cancer topics are so broad that most, if not all, viable research will fit within the topics.
68% believe scientific merit score should not be the sole determinant of funding.
In addition to scientific merit, the majority of respondents said that CBCRP should consider at least one of the following: research priorities, relevance of the research, balancing the portfolio, and allowing applicants to make revisions. Those who disagreed tended to have relatively strong opinions. For example, one reviewer said: “Funding bad science leads to bad science.” Another implied that criteria other than scientific merit score constituted political considerations. “Political considerations only waste money, time, and resources.”
61% believe there are no additional elements that could be measured by peer review.
Additional elements suggested by respondents included: investigators background and experience, past productivity of PI, readiness for clinical application, how patient advocates are involved in research, quality of application such as following directions and clear writing, importance of the question and evaluation of design and methods.
80% believe novel research can be driven by grant funding.
The small percentage of respondents who disagreed with this statement gave reasons such as: “Novel research ‘happens,’ it is not ‘proposed.’”