Applying for funding via research councils and other sources is a vast bureaucratic maze. For example, the last EPSRC funding proposal I applied for had a 14 months time line between the submission date and money arriving (should you be in the handful of percent who picked the right lottery numbers). For 3 years of funding for one researcher this is simply untenable – I'd have to spend half of the time lining up the next proposal just to stay in a job. A current KTP proposal, dispite being 'lightweight' and 'fast track' is now in it's 10th month – for a 1 year long position. The costs, in terms of time spent is approaching 1/3rd of the value of the grant.
Bureaucracy and inefficiency in the process of applying for research funding wastes huge amounts of time and money. It keeps public funded scientists away from doing actual science and instead having to play 'buzzword bingo' to work out what is fashionable with the research councils this week, just so they have a job next year.
Why does this idea matter?
The UK has a world class reputation for research and innovation, which form a fundamental basis of much of the 'knowledge economy'. Reducing bureaucracy in research funding will help the UK stay competitive and mean we can acheive more and make more efficient use of the resources (time and people) that we already have.