Sciencewomen

Fall full o’ proposals

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgAlice is rolling in the dough (yay Alice!!!!), but ScienceWoman is flat broke, both personally and professionally. The personal is a story for another day, but now’s the time to talk about being professionally broke and the implications for my fall research output.

Due to MU’s too restrictive policies, I don’t have any more start-up funds to cushion the first one to three years of going from post-doc to PI. Last year I wrote two proposals. One got funded. The little one. The total uncommitted money remaining in that account is <$300. So, broke. In fact, this fall I've been paying for little field supplies (and all travel) out of pocket. I'll be taking those unreimbursed employee expenses deductions on my 2008 taxes.

So as much as I'd like to be spending hours sitting around with a mug of tea and refining the theoretical advance (backed up by empirical data) that's got a shot at netting me a GlamourMag pub, and as much as certain people might urge me to write, write, write above all else, I’m not spending my research time this fall polishing manuscripts. But I am writing three grant proposals. I’ve also got one already in review. If I get more than one of these proposals funded, I’ll be a busy girl in 2009-2010 and then the publications will come flowing out. (And I’ll be well set up for more and bigger grants…and reappointment.)

But right now I am running myself ragged oscillating between proposal drafts, collecting preliminary data, talking with collaborators, scoping out new field sites, and, oh yeah, teaching two new classes. If you are morbidly curious about my grant writing schedule, venture below the fold. Otherwise, move along…there are plenty of other blogs waiting in your feed reader. :)

  • August 29th – notice of intent due for Team Proposal (submitted!)
  • September 10th – AGU abstract deadline (submitted!) But it’s a solo authored abstract, so I had to spend a good chunk of time working up enough data for the abstract, and now I am really committed to finishing the project before December.
  • September 24th – Project 1 Pre-proposal due (in progress…) They’re not going to ask for full proposals from everyone, so even though this is short it has got to be good. The biggest piece of work so far has been getting the co-PI and myself on the same page in terms of research questions. Now that that’s accomplished (compromise, compromise, compromise), the draft is moving along nicely.
  • October 12th – We find out whether our Project 1 preproposal was successful.
  • October 17th – Project 2 full proposal due (idea gestating…) I’m actively waiting on this one (really!) and collecting preliminary data. This proposal is by myself, so I know I must resist the temptation to put it off to the last minute.
  • October 20th – Personal proposal due. I think about this one sometimes, but I’m not sure I’d even count it as actively waiting yet.
  • October 29th – Team Proposal due (in progress) – Fortunately, I am not the leader and there are lots of team members. So far the workload has not been burdensome. But there are meetings…
  • November 6th: Project 1 full proposal due. (conditional on selection of preproposal).
  • December 1st-ish – I find out about the currently in review proposal, project 1 proposal, and project 2 proposal. I’ll either be very happy (and overwhelmed) or very despondent and very broke. Keep your fingers crossed.
  • December 15th – no matter what the outcome of the proposal race, I still have to have that poster/talk ready for AGU.
  • December 20th – I get to take a very long nap. :)

P.S. Does this post title make anyone else crave falafel?

Comments

  1. #1 Randy
    September 15, 2008

    be careful. I made the mistake of writing grant after grant after grant, ignoring polishing off a few manuscripts. Problem is suddenly you realize you haven’t published in a while, and trust me, funding agencies notice that even quicker. So as the quality of my proposals went up, as the quality of my preliminary data went up, my proposal scores started dropping. So, went back to finishing papers… proposal scores went up.

  2. #2 sarcozona
    September 15, 2008

    Good luck!

  3. #3 Mimi
    September 15, 2008

    Yikes! Sounds like you will be busy. I believe in you. YOU CAN DO IT!

  4. #4 perceval
    September 15, 2008

    What Randy said. A good trick is to cite a paper in progress in a grant proposal – forces you to write the work up! Also, I would prioritise the personal proposal, where you have full control over all the major players. this way, you won’t be screwed if one of your coconspirators messes up.

  5. #5 Alice
    September 15, 2008

    Yikes! So wish I could help out with the writing and funding and stuff… fingers are really crossed very tightly… and grant-getting vibes that have been sitting here have been firmly told to go visit you for a semester…

  6. #6 Mike
    September 15, 2008

    I think good subject would be to discuss too restrictive start up packages. At the R1 where I did my PhD, start up funds were available for 5 years. You could spend them as you saw fit. However, where I am currently on the tenure track, 80% of my funds had to be spend in the first 10 months and the other 20% must be spent in the next 10 months. This policy seems wasteful as I was spending money just to spend it so that I did not lose any of it.

  7. #7 Pat
    September 15, 2008

    Don’t give up. In some federal agencies you can submit full proposals even if the preliminary is rejected. I got one of those once (I called it my NASCAR proposal– the template/title stayed the same but everything underneath changed)

  8. #8 ecogeofemme
    September 15, 2008

    Good luck! You can do it!

  9. #9 FAW
    September 16, 2008

    Actually, it made me crave my grandmother’s soup :)

    Good luck with all the proposal writing! I don’t have any experience yet, but come october I’ll attend a day where they make a concerted effort to explain how to apply in the country I’m currently residing.

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