Some grant proposals mention that they only want funds for students and no funds for faculty such as summer salaries. Would this point increase the chances of being funded by some agencies? Specifically, if two similar competitive projects were proposed and one asked for faculty salaries and the other didn't, would this make the difference?

  • 2
    You haven't mentioned which country and which funding agency you're applying to- the answers might well differ depending on these factors. In general, "I'm going to do this for free" doesn't sound very realistic. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 17:08
  • @BrianBorchers In US, NSF, NIH or any other funding agency
    – Thomas Lee
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


This of course depends on the kind of competition, agency, country, etc. Those agencies and competitions I'm familiar with, always rank applications based on merit and not on financial need.

  • Part of the merit issue is does the funder believe the work can be done. Certainly the funder I work for would dismiss out of hand a proposal where the investigators did not have funded time on the project. It undermines the credibility of the proposal.
    – rhialto
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 22:53

There is no clear answer. It depends.

If funds are available for any of the two, the former is likely to win. Giving money to the faculty raises the chances that the faculty would be actively contributing.

If the money is available for only one project, then there is no simple answer: the former may have more impact, while the latter may be cheaper.

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