Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Lab life sucks. Desperately need a break at work. Something's got to give. I can't have set myself up against all high risk projects all over again. :( Feel absolutely uninspired to bring ass to work and keep it here for 8 hours.

The other day my labmate came and showed me his reviews from an NIH grant he submitted several months ago. His grant got rated Excellent and he has a pretty good rank, but is on the border as far as funding actually goes. Thats the name of the game. He was very effusive in his gratitude for my input on his grant. The scientific idea, the conceptualization etc. was entirely his, but I will unabashedly take credit for whipping his grant into shape- I spent a good many hours first understanding the requirements and instructions of the RFA and then making him rewrite key portions to better fit it and telling him how to do it . Of course I could do all of this because I enjoy the advantage of having much better English, and, because, as he pointed out, I really understood his idea and what he was trying to convey and helped him convey it. I spent late nights up until his deadline and went back and forth on his final few drafts. After all those revisions, the grant ended up looking very different and very good. I am glad I could be of help and hope that he gets this grant. Labmate went on and on thanking me and even said "Every time I discuss the grant with my wife I tell her that the excellent reviews are because of TGFI's help". :) lol.

That brings me to one of the things I'll miss about academia. I have written and successfully gotten two grants so far, both small ones, but still- I think PhDAdv. really took a lot of pains to hone my skills at communicating my scientific ideas- be it on paper or through presentations- and at the end of it I do pretty well. At some point in grad school I thought the fact that a P.I is reduced to writing grants and struggling for funds for most of his time, was off-putting and a deterrent towards thinking about a faculty job, But over the years I have found that I love the process of grant writing- of thinking up ideas, formulating specific aims, fleshing it all out, brainstorming and drawing mindmaps- going through multiple iterations, enjoying the scientific exploration and ability to let your imagination run wild and spend days ruminating over ideas, researching literature... Well, of course, all of this was fun when I was not under any pressure to apply for grants. I applied, enjoyed the process, took my own sweet time with it- fully knowing that if I got rejected somebody was still going to pay my salary. Things are different when one is P.I. and this is pretty much your bread and butter..but well..I will miss this exploratory side of academia - and its a shame to underutilize this skill that I have learned over years...


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