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)
One of the great things about working with some top scientists to hone their grant-getting skills is that I get to hear really good questions that they struggle with.
One question from a client was this:
“I am a bit confused about what goes in the Significance and the Innovation sections of my proposal, and how those are different from the Approach.”
In my grant writing classes like the Grant Dynamo, I teach the concept posing “problem-solution” pairs. These pairs always come together, ...(read more)
There’s this persistent myth that I need to tear down once and for all. Maybe it won’t all happen in this one blog post, but by God I’m gonna give it a good start.
The myth? It’s that all it takes to succeed is hard work.
I have seen lives destroyed by that myth, more than once.
For example: I’ve had a few conversations with a smart scientist who works for a hard-driving, work-all-the-time boss at a major university. This hard-driving boss is ...(read more)
Wow. Not in a while have I been so infuriated as I am after reading the recent bit tiltled “Could the NIH payline be too high?” from Nathan S. Blow of Biotechniques (“From the Editor” piece for Vol 55, No 1, July 2013).
His argument goes like this.
Big lab with lots of funding equals LOTS of articles.
Little lab with not so much funding equals only a FEW articles.
FURTHERMORE, the large labs are more highly “productive” which means the study sections are “doing the ...(read more)
A few people are taking notice: with the sequester, science funding is faltering… badly.
Well, Jim Lantry decided to do something about it. He started a SuperPAC to lobby for science and science funding.
Not being a political insider, the difference between PAC and SuperPAC is lost on me (or, maybe it’s just laziness).
In case you want to look it up, there’s more info on an article here.
He does note the exodus of researchers from the US to other countries as funding becomes ...(read more)