The avowed aim of this grant is to "facilitate the access of French researchers to European and international financing". This grant is therefore not directly for doing research, it is also not a kind of seed funding for starting a project in the hope of later obtaining more funding. It is a grant for obtaining larger grants.
The existence of this kind of grants is rather logical in today's research funding climate, from several points of view:
- looking for money is now supposed to be part of reseachers' jobs, and research institutes are already hiring consultants for helping them, so why not give money too,
- this is one more type of positive feedback loops in research funding,
- this is also an example of researchers having to write multiple applications in order to fund one project.
I am grateful to Stéphane Nonnenmacher for making helpful comments and for pointing out relevant information.