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22 May 2013

Well, my grant is away. It should be a short turnaround. It was a miniscule application, one page including the budget. And the process for negotiating MECMC’s sponsored projects gateway for grant submissions was confusing. But I think I got it done correctly. I really do enjoy the thrill of submitting a grant. It’s a little like jumping out of an airplane. Exciting, thrilling, and if it goes even the slightest bit wrong, you die. Well, not exactly. But you get the point. Especially now that I don’t have to depend on grant money to maintain my position, I’m relived of the anxiety associated with grant submission, but still feel the excitement. Of course, if it isn’t funded, I’ll have the same crushing disappointment. But not the existential fear for my job.

And once again, the online world gave me excellent support, with two of my twitter science friends performing external review on the grant, giving me recommendations for improvement. I think it’s a strong application, given the restrictions on the application format. I’m excited. My department is going to have a strange awakening when they realize that the funds come to the research department and that I have control over them. I’ll end up transferring a lot of the money to them of course, for assets they own, but as PI, I’ll have the purse strings. I’m not entirely sure how they’ll respond to that. They’ve never worked with research before.

But I’m not worried. And I’ll play ball. Providing funds to my department will be an excellent feather in my cap, and come with decided perks for me. I somehow doubt I’ll have to spend my (very) little slush fund on my first conference, for example, if I win this grant. But I also need to temper my expectations. Even an opportunity like this one, with limited eligibility and a small enough budget to make many of the eligible researchers unlikely to pursue it, funding is very competitive. The most likely outcome is that I will not receive the award. After all, I don’t have any idea how many applications they’ll receive or how many awards they’re making.

I’m just thrilled to be where I am. I just submitted a grant as PI at a seriously major institution of health and research. I don’t know how I got to be where I am. I don’t know that I deserve it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t. But I’m grateful for the opportunity, and intend to do as well as I can with it.

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