Box 11 - Financial Stability and the PADCT

Financial stability is essential for reaching results, specially for experimental laboratories. There is no point in granting resources to buy expensive equipment if there are no additional resources for installation, operation and maintenance, and more specifically for hiring and training technicians to operate it. Large time lags occurred frequently within PADCT between the arrival of equipment and the availability of operational resources. Difficulties to import equipment created absurd situations in which projects were to be carried on in one or two years, but the equipment arrived two or three years later, when there was no money left for installation, salaries, training and operation.

Long-term programs are needed, specially for centers of excellence. Projects could be approved for several years, with a firm commitment for the first year and additional payments pending on periodical reports, evaluations and the availability of resources. Each year, the researcher would submit a progress report and an annual budget for the following period. In theory, if resources did not exist, the Agency would not approve the extensions. In practice, even if budgets are reduced, there will be always some resources for the maintenance of the most important projects. Contracts should spell out clearly that long term financial commitments may not be fulfilled if the Agency's budget is reduced in the future. A substantial part of the projects should be made for the long term, that is, for more than three years.

Requests for continuation and extension of existing projects should always be considered, even if they do not fit the terms of the bids being analyzed at the time. Such requests should provide a careful report about the results achieved with previous grants.

Caspar E. Stemmer, 1993.