Cost sharing

It’s a requirement of many federal grants and potentially is a deal killer for younger institutions which may not have the resources to pull it off. The upshot of this problem is that institutions which may win awards on pure merit may have to forego competing for new awards with significant cost share. At the same time, institutions with much more massive resource pools, available to be deployed as cost share, have less competition for scarce federal grants. Merit becomes less important as a criterion while institutional resource base becomes more important. The rich get richer.

Now, I’m not saying that rich institutions don’t deserve a lot of grant support purely based on scientific merit. That’s clear; they do. But I’m also worried that newer institutions will have a much more difficult time getting up to speed, as a result of grant cost-share requirements.

It’s time to rethink grant cost share so that newer places have a chance to compete purely on the merits of the science.