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Another Grant Away.

4 May 2012

It seems that about 90% of my job is grant writing. I don’t teach, and I have precious little time for my actual funded research. Most of my time is spent doing work for grant submissions. But that’s how it goes. Especially for junior investigators on soft money. It’s very difficult to keep yourself fully funded. My institution shifted me from hard money to soft pretty abruptly. I have a single grant that is over in 5 months. After that, I’m on the good graces of my institution. So I need to be productive until such time as I get another hit.

So I’m submitting a lot. I put in three grants at the end of 2011, two in October and one in December. None was funded. Now I’m preparing a resubmission from the December grant, and I’ve just completed a grant with my boss. We submitted it today, and it cleared with no errors. It’s an interesting grant, examining a troublesome population of patients. There is a lot of interesting work to be done: providing that population with good care; improving access for members of the public who are thwarted by this troublesome population, etc.. It’s a good project.

My boss (who is PI for this grant, but who is not my “PI” in the sense that most scientists mean when they describe “their PI”), is a great boss, and a good shrink. I think he’s a pretty good scientist, but I haven’t seen it in action yet. But he waited a long time to get going on this grant, and as a result I think it’s a little vague. Hopefully we clarified it enough to satisfy the reviewers. But I honestly don’t expect to be funded, because I think it’s the wrong mechanism. We applied to a funding agency that wants to fund implementation, and this is more effectiveness. We’ll see.

All in all, I’m concerned. Things happen slowly everywhere, and I’m nervous about being employed. But we’ll see. I have irons in fires, but I never know what’ll happen. I sent an email to a guy at a nice east-coast university two weeks ago and didn’t hear a thing back yet. Maybe it’ll happen. Maybe it won’t. Overall, I’m doing pretty darned well. But the horizon is looming, and I get afraid. Fear is a bedeviling emotion.

Nevertheless. The grant is away, and there were no errors, and it’ll be graded along with the others. That’s all I can do. With the limited time I had for this grant, and the minimal help I got from my boss, it’s as good as I could make it. That’ll either be good enough, or it won’t. It’s out of my hands now. Time to move forward.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. daimia permalink
    4 May 2012 13:08

    Good Luck!!! We are also in grantwriting mode. Deadline is coming up soon and we are still trying to make our case stronger by generating some preliminary data. I definitely don’t want to be a PI after I’m done with ths degree.

    • 4 May 2012 13:48

      Why not?

      • daimia permalink
        4 May 2012 14:56

        I don’t think I could deal with the stress of writing grants, doing experiments and most daunting of all: being responsible for the careers of other people. I’d like to conduct research that excites me and hopefully the world (write grants to fund my research) without all of the added responsibilities. Not to mention politics.

  2. 4 May 2012 16:31

    @daimia, that makes sense. It’s scary having people depend on your grantwriting.

  3. 9 May 2012 07:31

    I managed to keep funding going for my staff of 16 for many years. But times are harder now. Luckily, they are still employed, although the section split up after I left. I am glad to not be living from grant to grant, but being on hard money means that it is necessary to still keep writing grants. And to do the research, analyze the data and publish. I was tired at the end of my career. Too much politics and too many forms.

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