Monday, December 22, 2008

Number of Grants

So, FSP wrote a post about the appropriate number of grants to file. And she put it as 5-6 a year. As I have had 5 grants denied in the last 2 months alone - and I'll get to this in a minute - I have to disagree. I'm going to go with the number of "as many as is humanly possible to file and still do a reasonably good job". This number will of course vary with your teaching load and how fast you can write.

Also, the number of relevant announcements ebbs and flows - in the summer/early fall, there were more announcements than there were in November, and right now I'm in an upswing again. But, again, I'm not about to not-submit just so I can get some sleep. But, I'm not going to waste my time submitting to a not-relevant announcement either.

So, about the 5 rejections. 3 were for NSF grants. I've officially been rejected from NSF. I'm not really all that upset, which is kind of funny. I got a couple "goods" and a couple "excellents", but apparently, you have to get all "excellents" to get funded. As I was never a straight A student, except for one semester in second grade, I really don't see this happening. Maybe this is my being pessimistic, but it just seems like (probabilistically) it isn't going to happen - 5 reviewers all thinking "she's excellent!". Not likely. And I didn't really get any useful feedback saying what I could do next time. Maybe I won't be submitting to NSF again anytime soon...

The other two rejections - one was a Young Investigator and one was an NIH. NIH - they said what I could do next time - focus on a specific disease. And the YI - well, those are beauty contests, basically.

So, right now, I'm working on three different ones, all due in January. I was working on two, which is a kind of comfortable number. But then a program manager called and asked me to submit. This normally wouldn't be a problem - adding one - but this one happens to be a group submission (me plus a couple other people). So I had to pull together a team. Again, normally not a big deal - but the holidays change things. Everything becomes choatic.

It isn't us (the PIs) who are the problem. It is the budget and admin people. We have to get budgets approved, which means we have to get our budgets approved. And apparently pulling together a budget is akin to balancing the federal budget. So, my other two have been put on hold (as I'm the only PI on those), and now I'm working on forcing this larger one through the budget people. And there is cost-sharing involved.

Well, Happy Holidays to everyone.

1 comment:

FemgineerPhD said...

Hi FAEP, I just came across your blog and eagerly read your previous posts, wanting to learn more about what's in store for me over the next couple of years. You must have an insane number of things to do in your new faculty position, but just know that I would love to hear more about your experiences, as I'm sure many others would. Best of luck!