Presentation Pet Peeves

No time for blogging with impending grant deadline, small author proof crisis, and some associated drama. I hate lab/personnel drama.

Don’t desert me- I’ll be back- but I’ve got to take care of business. I’ll leave you temporarily with this… two more presentation pet peeves:

1.  Deliver the presentation TO THE AUDIENCE, not to the board.

2. Don’t forget to tell them what you are going to tell them… in a little outline somewhere near the beginning of the talk.

Add your own if you wish…

Job Search Question(s)…(UPDATED)

I’ve had a couple of questions about the academic job search in the last couple of days. You all know that demistifying this process is one of my favorite things to do….. and since I’m re-submission writing with renewed energy- y’all get to help me answer this one for DSKS:

Job application question.

If you are a Newbie and, although not in the fundable zone, you reckon you got an okay score and addressable criticisms for your first shot at an R01, can you (should you?) express this in an initial job application? (in this instance, the R01 goals are very much an integral part of the research statement?)

If so, in the cover letter or in the CV or both?

Or is this of absolutely no value whatsoever to a search committee, or even straightforwardly deleterious because it’s tantamount to drawing attention to failure?

It’s not for me. It’s for an, erm, acquaintance of mine… Bob Bobson’s his name. Haw haw. Silly bugger’s trying to get a job in 2009, and he’s to old to join the Navy.

I say ol’ Bob should definitely include the fact that he got a scored R01 application- and on the first submission – on his CV (Should appear under pending grant applications- or some such).  Search committees definitely, definitely care about that kind of stuff, and they know how freaking difficult it is out there right now. If this were me, I’d probably include the score itself and the percentile ranking, and my plan for resubmission dates -on the CV as well. I’m not sure I would write a bunch of bla bla bla about what appeared in the summary statement either in the letter or on the CV- because it would seem obvious to me as a search committee member that if a candidate had a scored R01 they would be pretty foolish NOT to try to resubmit it. As a search committee member if I saw the scored R01 bit on a candidate’s CV- and we chose to interview that candidate- I would likely have a conversation with the candidate about what was in the summary statement- and how they think the criticisms could/should be answered. I imagine that this kind of conversation might come up in a chalk-talk as well.

As for whether or not this information should appear in the cover letter- I’m still undecided on that one.  If I mentioned this in the cover letter my gut feeling would be to say – I submitted an R01 and it got scored on it’s A0 submission…. we think the criticisms are easily addressable and will do this and resubmit on XYZ date. I just don’t think the cover letter is the place to do a lot of explaining about how the reviewer’s issues could be rectified- and so bringing up a score here might lead the applicant into feeling like they must to explain. I could EASILY be wrong about this though.

What say you, readers of teh blog… to Q #1?

On to Q#2…from Enrique:

is it a no-no for a postdoc looking for a TT position to include significant contributions towards said postdoc advisor’s grants on a CV?

Never having encountered this situation myself, I’m not sure what advice to give on this one. My sense is that it would be difficult to fit this in on a CV… but I really need your combined opinions!

New Look (UPDATED)

I fiddled with the look of teh blog. I was bored- love it? hate it?  I’m not sold yet.

I wish the pages were listed at the top as they were in the old theme- but I can live with them on the side.  I wish I could adjust the width of the page… I don’t love the way the ‘category cloud’ widget looks… not cloud like enough for me. But I can live with it.

On the other hand, I like the dark borders, I like the way the comments appear with different background colors, and I was just ready for a change of some sort. I wasn’t very adventurous with the colors, maybe that is what is coming next…

**SINCE I wrote that yesterday… I have yet again changed the theme. This one isn’t so width-constrained- and the pages are, again, listed at the top. It’s kind of straight lab-bench w/o a lot of style- but it overcomes the problems of the previous iteration… What say you?

Huh? That wasn’t in the proposal.

Since I’m having SO.MUCH.FUN. with the response to previous reviews- I thought I’d share a few more gems with you from one of the previous rounds. So here goes-

  • #1: Some general weaknesses and concerns center on the application’s focus on over-investigated areas such as phenotype X, Y, and Z….

I’d take this criticism standing up, with a stiff upper lip- I really would… but for one thing. Continue reading

Contradicting Yourself

I’m re-writing my A1….. to be an A2.  So- I’ve been holed up writing the response to previous review. I’m grumpy… and I just thought I’d show you an example of what I’m irritated by.

Reviewer #1 sez:

Moreover, there is little support for the contention that in fact any truly novel new factors will be identified.

Ya, ok, you can disagree with me…but here’s the maddening thing.. In the same pink sheets- the following statement appears:

In addition, the applicant has already identified some novel factors (>20). What approach will be used to understand what these do?

Yup. You guessed it. The same reviewer that wrote that first statement, wrote that second statement. And- in the summary statement they appeared together like this:

Moreover, there is little support for the contention that in fact any truly novel new factors will be identified. In addition, the applicant has already identified some novel factors (>20). What approach will be used to understand what these do?

Just shoot me now.

Loose Ends.

I’m going to clean up in a few areas in this post.

First, a couple points about oral presentations/job talks that are just making me crazy lately.

#1. DO NOT start a new story in an oral presentation, job talk or otherwise, at 48 minutes in. Just don’t do it- at 48 minutes in there is only one thing left to do- leave well enough alone, and conclude.

#2.  Please, please, please- before you go off to give a talk somewhere- make sure you check out each and every one of your figures on a PC AND ON A MAC. I’m begging you. This is really a minor detail for you that’s easy to take care of. I can’t appreciate your lovely flow cytometry data, if I can’t see it. Borrow a mac or a pc if you need to, you can save your presentations on a memory stick saved both from the PC and from the Mac… this just would make this member of your audience less grumpy!

Second, Eugenie kindly gave Continue reading

Rock Bottom Morale in Academic Science

Last night I received an email from a friend:

Dear DrDrA:

Is it just me, or is the news about NIH and the future of science in general starting to get just plain depressing?  All the stories about labs closing and people getting grants endlessly triaged is just painful.  I’m in the midst of writing several grants right now, but have to wonder if it’s even worth it.  Lame, I know.  But I find I have so little time for real science anymore.  I’m starting to think that many of our “generation” are not going to be in academic science in 5 yrs, and that makes me really sad.  So I’m glad to hear all the nice news you post about your papers getting accepted and your students doing well, since good news doesn’t abound these days.


Science BFF

Funny that this should arrive yesterday, because this is just exactly what I have been feeling. I replied:

Dear Science BFF-

It’s so funny that you would send me this email right now- because it pretty much sums up exactly what I’ve been feeling. Not lame at all. Continue reading

10 Minute Talks

My most senior graduate student participated in a research competition late last week, and as part of this competition she was invited to give a ten minute presentation of her work. This was EXCITING for us both, and was a little scary for me-… you see, DrMrA is the undisputed champion mentor for public speaking- his students always win the research competition.  He didn’t have one apply this year- so it fell to me to uphold the A family graduate-student-10-minute-talk honor.

My student was informed that she was invited to present only 1 week prior to the competition- and she teaches 1 and 1/2 days per week … she has 3 kids…. and add to that that she is working feverishly to do several not-totally-straight-forward experiments for a manuscript we have in revision- all somewhat time sensitive.  Now throw on preparing for the 10 minute talk. This schedule is not for the faint of heart- but, as I always tell my students- it’s a lesson in just gritting your teeth and getting it done.  The big events in life just don’t happen in a vacuum- there is always a child throwing up, a husband out of town, AND a manuscript to revise…

So how did we prep for the talk?  Continue reading

50 must-read women science bloggers…

This morning I turned on my computer  and started surfing around the internets, only to find this blog included on a list of 50 must read women scientist bloggers at the Health Zone Blog here, in an article with this descriptor:

Women have long played an important role in scientific developments and discourse, however, this role has historically received relatively less recognition and coverage as compared to their male counterparts. Over the last few years, however, blogging has opened up a way for leading women in science to bring to light the important improvements women have made, the struggles they still encounter, and the strategies they set up for their work to be recognized.

Go on over there and look at the list if you have a moment, there are some terrific blogs listed. And, I have to say- it’s the absolute highlight of my short blogging life to be included on the same list with Female Science Professor (as something of an FSP groupie). Much of the rest of the list includes a blogging community that I’ve come to know over the last year or so, whose trials and tribulations (and victories) I follow, and whose participation with comments on this blog keep the discussion interesting. It feels great to be part of this community!