Think about it…About 1/4 of NSF pre-proposals get invited to submit full proposals. About 1/4 of those full proposals get funded. That equates to an overall average success rate of around 6%. In other words, the average researcher will have 16 proposals rejected for every one proposal that they get funded.
By current NSF policy, a researcher can only submit 2 proposals per year. So an average researcher will just 1 grant funded every 8 years. Most grants last 3 or 4 years.
Put it all together and this means that our average researcher who applies to NSF every chance they get, will spend over half their career unfunded.
Is this really a tenable system?