I thought I was done with grant proposals, happily done…. HA! Just when you think you are out….. they pull you back in.
I’m writing another one with colleagues and it is awesome fun. It is also crazy, wildly, insanely intense and exhausting. I know that I’ve done my share of bitching and moaning in these pages about grant applications and such- but developing and spelling out new ideas is a total rush. Does anyone else out there feel like that? Right now we are coming toward the end of the process and everyone is working like mad, pulling together, and I’m madly infatuated with the science and the proposal. Maybe reviewers will give us the go-ahead and my relationship with this project will become long-term.
Yes, I know I’m totally aware that I’ve got a problem. I’m DrdrA and I’m a science-aholic. Can we start a support group?
Can we start a support group?
I thought that’s what us bloggers were… 🙂
I totally get the rush thing. I just sent in an equipment grant for a state-of-the-art Shiny Toy (TM) with Gold-plated Thingamajig accessory and I’m still high on the thought of all the cool science we could do if we get it.
“Hi, my name is N.A.P. and I, well, need help getting sober.” With you 110% – that rush is great. I love the “ah-HAH” moment where something comes together, the debates over approach, nitpicking the wording on the public abstract so that my mom or my neighbor can understand (in simplified terms) what we want to do and why it’s important…all of it’s great. The one we have due next Wednesday is for a mechanism that only had a 2.7% success rate last fiscal year, but I don’t care! I love this grant and I am going to give it the best chance possible.
Odyssey- I want a shiny new toy too. In fact I want one of these, but I’d settle for a dozen or so runs and a cheap date with a bioinformatics genius.
New Asst. Prof.- I’m right there with you, 2.7% success rate or not- we always want to give it our best shot. Especially when the science is so, well, thrilling.
I’m a postdoc and haven’t written that many grants yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m already a total addict. I’m still generating preliminary data for my current grant, but I keep heading back to the laptop on breaks to work on the research plan, research new methods, and contemplate all the potential results. Planning out these experiments is sometimes so much more fun than waiting for the opportunity to actually do the experiments…total rush!!
I feel the same, my SO cannot understand how I can get boot up my computer at night and do more work on the same grant to get it just right :). Also, how many times have you heard post-docs on the “academic track” complain that of course soon all they’d be doing is writing grants, never getting to do “real science” anymore, etc etc. I always think to myself that, if you don’t get excited about doing a job that’s 75-95% writing grants, why are you on the academic track? As a corollary, do you think grant-writing enthusiasm is this one of the distinguishing characteristics between post-docs who land a position and those that don’t? Or PIs that get tenure and those that don’t? Because if you don’t love it, you won’t do it well and/or will get burned out from it awfully soon…
The current focus of my affection is this – the time-resolved capabilities rock. I’m a molecular biophysicist who gets excited by these things…
melissasbench- I’m embarrassed to say that last night I fell asleep with the computer on my lap working on grants.
Odyssey- Nice! What a matched set of geeks we are.
WOW! That Illumina is so shiny and pretty…would be SO SWEET to get one. I’m just starting, but already I’m trying to figure out how to convince the new colleagues that we should all pitch in for one. sigh.
I like the IDEA of writing grants…the planning research goals, reading up on methods, brainstorming ideas. I LOVE making outlines and organizing thoughts. But actually writing-well, I’m working on it. Every time I stare at the long column of words on a screen it makes me want to go check on some data. Or start another experiment. Or take out the trash. Like I said, as a new tt faculty, I’m working on it.
No question, I do my best scientific thinking when I’m working on a grant proposal.
I hate working on grants. I admit that the process of grant-writing focusses thinking in a positive direction, but still hate it. I write grants because I must to survive. The writing of grants is totally different from actually doing the experiments. That is why I hate grants. So much of them becomes irrelevant when data arrive.
You may not like all of the grantsmithing process, Beaker, but right as you get close to finishing….you’ve outlined why all these brilliant experiments need (NEED I say!) to be done….why you are the best (ONLY, and MOST FANTASTIC) laboratory to do the experiments….you have the environment, the preliminary data…you are on the right track….and nothing has gone wrong yet (schweeeet!)…well, if that doesn’t get you going, I don’t see how you can survive in this business.
I am happy to know that I am not the only guy having headaches on writing grants. At first this is scary stuff, especially when this is the first time that I write and my co-authors being veterans in research(one is in the east and other in the west 😦 )..Boy, the need to write winning grants is really exhalarating and difficult..Any advise for me!
Bitemonkey – I liked your advise man! Especially for budding scientists, it keeps my adredanaline running..
Thanks and advise is always welcome..
This is a nice blog,
Superb website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get advice from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!