How Does Your Department Count Grant Writing?


Writing a grant—that is, applying for one—can be an extraordinarily laborious exercise, requiring the creation and packaging of academic work, the completion of various administrative tasks such as crafting a budget and obtaining required institutional approvals, the coordination of academics across multiple schools, consultations with funding agencies, and so on.

All of this work may result in winning the grant—or it may not. Either way, it involves a significant amount of time and effort.

When your department evaluates faculty with an eye towards tenure and promotion, how, if at all, does it count grant writing?

Does it fall under research, or service, or its own category? How much does it count relative to other activities? Does the decision to count it, or how much to count it, depend on whether it is successful (and if so, how does your department handle it when faculty are evaluated after writing the grant but prior to receiving a decision on it)? Does the decision to count the grant, or how much to count it, depend on how big a grant it is? Do the numbers of co-principal investigators affect how it is counted? Your feedback is appreciated (including information on other aspects of your department’s decision-making process I’ve neglected to mention here).

detail of collage by Mark Wagner

Related: money for philosophers.

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Chris Surprenant
4 years ago

For me it counts under service. I don’t see why it would count for anything else.

Anyone can write grants that don’t get funded, just like anyone can write papers that never get published. And just receiving grant funding doesn’t and shouldn’t mean anything–you have to do something productive with that money. Now if the grant allows the university to pirate something off of the top, then that obviously changes things. But it still should count towards service. Report

Jon
Jon
Reply to  Chris Surprenant
4 years ago

So far as I can tell, they don’t count anywhere for us. I would have thought that “funded research” would count as “research”, not “service”, but that doesn’t mean it actually counts.

Also, what does “count” even mean in this context (or any)? We turn in a pile of stuff for tenure/promotion and we either win or don’t. It’s not like there’s a rubric that grants (or anything) is worth such-and-so points. Rather, it’s just some holistic evaluation that more or less gets blackboxed by committees. Sure, they write letters that pay lip service to evalutive criteria, but I’m obviously pretty cynical about how genuine those are. Report

Roberto
Roberto
4 years ago

We have annual performance reviews that impact our salaries. In order to be eligible for a raise, you have to either hold an external grant or have applied for one in that year. And if you haven’t received a grant in the past three years, you aren’t eligible for a raise. Also, external grants are a necessary condition for tenure.Report

CWS
CWS
Reply to  Roberto
4 years ago

What discipline?Report

George Rainbolt
George Rainbolt
4 years ago

Here in the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University, we count applying for grants (and submitting for publication) as research. We have modest amounts of summer research money. In order to be eligible for this money, you must have applied for a national or international external grant. Applying for grants is also considered when it comes to raises and promotions. For obvious reason, when it comes to raises and promotions, getting a grant counts for much more than applying for one.Report

Expat Grad
Expat Grad
4 years ago

Two related questions:
What about grants that aren’t directly research related – pedagogical innovation, textbook prep (esp. open textbooks), etc?

What about grad students? In particular if a grad student does some or all of the actual grant writing and is an investigator (not just an RA)? I realize this isn’t very common, but I’m aware of it happening from time to time.Report

Morris
Morris
4 years ago

My university has a lot of politics around grants. Writing and winning funding wins the university’s golden boys&girls extra kudos. Writing and winning funding grants is not credited to anyone else. The funding successes of the latter group create an embarrassment by highlighting the gulf between the scholars and the deadwood/no-hopers/managers. Since this is something the managers themselves cannot control, they react by more openly disparaging the research and scholarship of those outside the preferred elite. In two recent cases, researchers’ grant records not only did not lead to promotion or praise but instead unleashed jealousies and bitter harassment campaigns at department levels. Both cases were women philosophers winning research grants where their colleagues were not. At my university the golden boys&girls award themselves special university funding to support their own efforts to write external grants. They call it ‘seed funding’. Everyone else does the grant writing on their own time, with the grant award, the wider acknowledgement and the research itself as the reward. Report