This question is based off the following chain of reasoning:
- Universities employ professors, who write funding applications and win grants. The university then takes some fraction of the grant as "overheads" which counts as part of its "income".
- Therefore universities prefer professors who win big grants (the number of grants matter less than the total amount of money won).
- Experimentalists need more money than theoreticians. I would expect that theoreticians only need some software & computers, but experimentalists would need the equipment itself (MRI machines, vacuum chambers, etc) which are orders of magnitude more expensive than mere desktop computers.
- Therefore experimentalists win bigger grants.
- Therefore universities prefer experimentalists.
I'm wondering if this chain of reasoning is robust. It looks pretty convincing to me. Conceivably the university could have separate grant targets for theoreticians and experimentalists, but presumably some professors aren't easily classified into either theoretician or experimentalist, which would make this an easily-gamed metric.