A story on how new Energy Secretary Steven Chu is planning to dole out the stimulus money:
The Department has existing programs that include direct funding, direct loans, and loan guarantees, and applications for these programs had been organized in a manner analogous to most research grants, where there is an application deadline followed by a review period. That's gonethere will no longer be any deadlines, and evaluation will start when the application is received, an approach the DOE is calling "rolling appraisals." A review of the process has also resulted in a significant reduction in the paperwork required for an application; Chu is also adding staff to the evaluation process in order to reduce the time needed before funding decisions can be made.
May I suggest that other federal science agencies follow his lead? Maybe especially for those projects that include graduate student and postdoc support – helping to ease the problems of the very tight academic and industry job market right now? More of the same would be a real shame.