Many of you science peeps are familiar with NIH and their constant worry over the careers of early investigators. How to help postdocs transition to independent researcher positions, etc etc. I am in the middle of all that myself.
A possible improvement struck me. The process of applying for funding takes a long time. Even if you ignore writing the proposal and producing pilot data. Just from application submission to funding is about a year. Postdoc positions are almost by nature unstable. The amount of time needed to secure a TT job is certainly more than how much funding can usually be obtained at once. I don't think it's uncommon to patch together funding, 2 years of this, 1 year of that, during a postdoc. If you are interested in one of those NIH grants for postdocs you basically need to get funding in order to apply for funding. Two years of funding might give you enough time to put together something and apply. Three if you plan for the inevitable resubmission. (Four if you are a person I know who waited >6 months after being recommended for funding).
This strikes me as not good. Particularly given the stated purpose of these postdoc awards. Why not try to speed up the process just for the postdoc mechanisms. Cut down the waiting time to something like 4 or even 3 months? Is that crazy? Not possible?