Wednesday, 20 February 2008

If I weren't laughing I'd have to cry

So... I wrote a fellowship proposal 10 months ago than went to ESRC (one of the UK research councils). I was lucky. I was awarded the fellowship (all told, it's worth £370,000 over 3 years). The fellowship pays my salary and some other stuff. The expectation was that the money would pay for a temporary 3-year lecturer to take over my teaching and administration, and that the leftover could pay for a research assistant as well. There's also money in there for a 3-yr PhD studentship and a bunch of equipment. But here's the rub: The University of York (my employer) have told my department that none of the fellowship money will be passed on to them to pay for a replacement for me. Essentially, the university will keep the fellowship money, and my department will have to struggle on without a penny with which to replace me. Unless something changes in the next few weeks, I shall have little option but to write to ESRC and turn down the fellowship on the grounds that my department cannot afford it. It means that the university could lose out on monies that would have, in any other university, paid for that 3-yr replacement lecturer, that 3-yr research assistant, and that PhD student.

If I ever end up writing that letter, turning down the fellowship, a letter of resignation to my vice chancellor will most likely follow.

ok - I whine too much. I admit it.

UPDATE: A couple of days later, the head finance guy phoned me up to allay my fears. In all fairness to him, he was very nice about it all. Apparently, it will most likely work out ok, it's just not clear when the money will be given to the department. One hopes in time to employ my replacement and the research assistant... Still, I shouldn't have to deal with this kind of thing; it's bad enough trying to convince reviewers and grant agencies to fund our research without having to then spend even more time than it took to get the grant in the first place trying to persuade the university to pass the funds on.