I'm currently drafting up a fellowship proposal to hopefully cover the cost of my dumbass doing science for the next year or so. I'd like to think I have a compelling idea that fits within the programatic priorities of this funding group and I think they'd agree since I made it through the initial triage that cut out about 2/3rds of the preproposals.
Now I have the (mis)fortune of writing the full proposal and I'm grappling with how much prelim data to show. I've got about four pages in which to really detail my science and am experiencing some consternation about how much prelim data to include.
So dear readership (the two of you) and everyone else that clicked on this thinking it would be a Drugmonkey post written with at least some thought to quality (jokes on you assholes), how much prelim data do you put in your grant proposals? A small figure or two? Model figures?
I'm trying to begin preparing for a fellowship proposal on a project that I am really excited by right now. I'm trying to jot out some aims for the project but I am hitting a brick wall whenever I start to put type them out. Does this ever happen to you folks? I am really enthusiastic for this project but it is crushing me that I'm not laying down my aims with clarity. I'm sitting and staring at the preliminary data that I have collected so far to draw inspiration from. I know I'm not crafting the Great American Novel, but I'd at least like to extract the ideas out of my head with some clarity and put them down to paper (I'm going back to the old school route, this tends to help when I have writer's block).
So does this ever happen to you?
What's the old saying, you neighbor loses his job and its a recession, but you lose your job, and its a depression. Well the shoe finally dropped for one of my friends and he was put on notice that his job disappears as of January 1st. Sadly for him there was no advance notice that this was coming. I'm sure in the next year and probably the couple of subsequent ones, that more and more folks are going to getting pink slipped or P45'd. More than a few of my friends who are trainees and techs are quietly brushing up resumes and trying to find homes in labs with more stable track records of funding.
Really its all very bleak and no one wants to talk about it, but its on our minds. So to anyone displaced or about to be displaced from employment, I hope you guys land on your feet again soon. When I got into science 12 years ago it seemed like the sky was the limit and I rarely ever heard of people getting cut loose for waning funding. But as they say the times are a changing....and not for the better.
The Times They Are A-Changin' 1964 by aHobo
My boss and I were discussing his latest grant proposal and which mechanism would be more suitable. We start discussing more exploratory mechanisms and he begins to explain the difference from the typical research grants (R01s) that we apply for. I explain that I know what the R21 mechanism is and how it differs from the R01. The boss looks befuddled and asks how do I know this.
I'm at a crossroads here dear reader, I can tell the man that I have religiously read Gospel of DM & CPP for the past couple of years or come up with something on the fly. My answer, "Oh, they told us about it in a grant writing seminar."
I kneel before thee sir dudes for I am not worthy.
is really freaking lacking in most incoming graduate students and for the most part its because the poor noobs have no experience with it. Most of these "kids" come out of undergrad having maybe written some lab or field reports and maybe a 5 page paper on some topic. A few have actually done a senior's thesis and developed some basic modicum of scientific writing skills. But universally, when it comes to writing any type of scientific proposal we have no clue.
Some universities are proactive and require students to take a class (usually during their first summer) on writing and grantsmanship where they can craft some basic scientific proposal. This is immensely helpful for those whose qualifying exams are to author some type of grant proposal. Sadly my institution puts no emphasis on this training and it is left up to the trainee and their mentor. And judging by some of the St. K3rns that I work with, they are loathe to allow you to participate in anything that takes you away from the lab.
So dear reader, what are your thoughts on formal training in scientific writing and grantsmanship, did you undergo this, and would you think this would be a practical addition to the graduate school curriculum?
The lovely folks at Nature have published a comment from John Iaonnidis suggesting that maybe science funding should shift from a model of funding projects to maybe just doling out money to researchers. Ioannidis tries to justify his assertion by bringing up the amount of Nobel Prize work that was done without direct funding, the pressures of researchers to bring in grant money to keep their positions, etc. Don't know if I agree with him or not, but just want to make you aware that someone was kicking the tires on this idea. Again.