5 min videos as grant applications?

This month, there was a suggestion that grant funding should be achieved by a 5 minute video pitch.  Here is their (closed-access) paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tibs.2014.01.004 But it’s nice to see that they walk the talk and have made a video summarising their paper.

Although, nobody uses the world multimedia any more (data from Google Ngram viewer)


Their key arguments were:

  • Current static, written grant applications have limitations.
  • It’s easier to convey complex ideas with video.
  • It’s easier for grant review panels. Poor funding decisions can be minimised, although I’m not sure there is any data suggesting this is likely.
  • The costs in time (e.g. salary costs) and effort, both for preparing and reviewing grants are rather large. An unsuccessful grant application presents a massive opportunity costs.

The authors here are making the general case for video, and stop short of a precise vision of future grant applications. Video content in addition to the existing grant requirements may well save grant reviewers time, but at the expense of authors. I think I prefer the idea of a video alongside a massively reduced grant proposal. I’ve already prepared my video grant application…

Update: Thanks to John Mildinhall for pointing this out…


Doran, M. R., Lott, W. B., & Doran, S. E. (2014). Multimedia: a necessary step in the evolution of research funding applications. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 39(4), 151–153. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2014.01.004