Artificial Intelligence (AI) has entered the world of funding proposals and it is there to stay. Scientists and grant writers now widely use ChatGPT and other AI tools in proposal preparation. So do I, it is a great support and time-saver. I use ChatGPT for inspiration, to help me sharpen my text and to give comprehensive explanations. I am reluctant to use it for scientific facts and figures and to design a project idea from scratch. First of all, when using the free version data up to only September 2021 is mined. Secondly, it takes quite some time to do fact checking, especially when the sources used by the AI tool are unknown. Thirdly, I see plagiarism and lack of novelty as potential risks. And finally, media are now frequently reporting about the hallucinations generated by chatbots. I am still in my learning curve how to leverage AI in the best way in my daily job. But there is one thing for sure: AI is changing the way of working for a funding advisor and grant writer like myself.
Next to the beauty of AI, concerns on the use of AI in the evaluation of proposals now pop up. Recently, the Australian Research Council banned the use of AI by grant evaluators. The Council took this decision after complaints by researchers who submitted proposal to the Council. They received assessments that had clearly been written with the use of AI tools. However, the question remains if the use of AI can be properly controlled and checked for.
The rapid and widespread introduction of AI asks for reflections on its obvious implications by scientists, research managers and administrators, and funding agencies. I am convinced that AI will transform the procedures and evaluations of funding proposals. Let’s see what the future will bring us.
Note: I have not used ChatGPT to improve this text. I did run it through the chatbot and it generated a fantastic response.