This is a guest post by Stefanie Robel, PhD.

Most of my academic career I have been working toward big longterm goals: my masters degree, my first paper, my PhD, the next position, a Nature paper, a transition into independence grant, the next paper. The list continues… The job as a research scientist is characterized by long streaks of work, seemingly without reward. Oftentimes, we experience a series of setbacks before we advance our projects in meaningful ...(read more)

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In this work, I see all kinds of crazy things. I label them as crazy not because I want to make judgement. I call them crazy because they lead to consequences that are at odds with the pronounced goals that people have for themselves.

So, let’s say, for example, that someone pronounces: “I want to learn how to get more grants funded.”

Then let’s say that they take it to the next logical step: “I’m going to pursue some training on this!”

Yay! ...(read more)

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A few days ago, I got this email:

 

The very same day, I got an email from someone else, which I’ve excerpted parts of here

“I been a virtual attendee for a number of your past webinars, and have appreciated the insights you’ve shared. I have been looking for success in a new research area, and it has been elusive because it is novel, innovative and pushes the envelope…

“So, I did the best I could to incorporate your themes and messages and recently ...(read more)

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Peer review, self-publishing, and blowhards

July 18, 2014

Should I self-publish my work? This is a question many academics and authors ask themselves these days. I had a discussion the other day on Facebook that started with this question, related to my upcoming book, Create or Die.

Let me first explain my own rationale, then get back to the topic of blowhards and peer review.

In 2010, I self-published Four Steps to Funding as a little book to share a framework for grant writing that I’d developed from my experiences ...(read more)

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Grants suck – ditching the fear

April 3, 2014

Grants suck. That’s funny, coming from someone who has been helping people with them for the past four years. However, working with so many people on them, I’ve seen the dark sides. There are several.

The grant game breeds fear. Lots of it. Fear breeds conservatism and unhealthy competitiveness. Fear is the enemy of creative thinking, and it is the enemy of fun, freedom, and clarity.

The conservatism that comes from fear leads most reviewers to be extremely conservative about what they’ll ...(read more)

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