Around this time of year Australian researchers grow jittery. Not with the migratory restlessness of spring, but, rather, fretting about whether they will have the chance to fledge their best ideas.
In the coming weeks, the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council will announce their decisions about which projects to fund in 2017. Those decisions will shape not only research projects, but careers and lives as well.
Last summer, as happens every year, most researchers spent the quiet teaching-free summer months working up proposals to submit to these two primary funding agencies. Then, after a nine-month gestation, during which world-leading researchers critique each grant, and a panel of experts meets to decide which of the many deserving proposals are most worthy of funding, the government announces which projects will be supported.