Sobering summary

Oct 01 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

I found out yesterday that our annual reviews are due on Oct 15th. Not a big deal, I just need to put all the information together and see what I can do to make it look more interesting than it is. I figure I'll do it little by little over the next two weeks and dealt with the easy sections this morning. Grad students, publications and grants. All information I have readily available and sections that are more tangible than "Describe your contribution as a scholar and teacher, blah, blah, blah".

The depressing thing was putting together the grants section and looking at all the entries under Unfunded Proposals. I've been here a year and submitted 8 grants ranging from $10K to $1.2M, depending on the destination. 6 federal grants and 2 foundation grants. Of all of those, 1 minor collaborative grant has been funded and two more significant grants are pending. That means 5 "No Thank Yous" in the last 13 months and a shit-load of wasted* time and effort.

I realize that this is fairly normal, but yet frustrating to see all in one place. It also brings to mind a conversation I had with a colleague over the summer. I mentioned the number of grants that I had sent out and that I was hoping for some good news shortly (didn't happen) and she tried to cheer me up by saying "I hadn't even submitted a grant until I had been here a year, so you are well ahead of where I was!" That made me feel a little better for about 3 seconds before she followed that statement with "Luckily my first grant got funded."

Thanks for that, it was totally necessary and appreciated.

*I know that the effort is not technically wasted because the proposals are being refined with the goal of resubmitting a better and more fundable proposal, but it feels wasted at this point.

10 responses so far

  • Odyssey says:

    It took me 3.5 years to get my first major grant funded...Does that help?

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    I'm not sure if I should feel better or vomit at the prospect of 20 more potential rejections. The good news is that after talking with my PO, I'm feeling decent about my bread and butter proposal that went in in July, but we'll see.

  • Anonymous says:

    You have plenty of shit to copy and paste now. Keep sending them in, one will stick sometime. Then we'll partay with you! jc

  • Odyssey says:

    You won't need another 20 applications. It sounds like you have your act together much more so than I did.

  • Professor in Training says:

    You and I are pretty much on par with each other on this. Our annual reviews run Jan-Dec and thus far in 2009, I've submitted 5 grants with similar budgets to the ones you described and have 3 rejections, 1 very small one (<$10K) funded and the big-ass R01 ($1.25M) being reviewed today/tomorrow (eeeek). I have 3 more going out before Christmas which will make n=8 for the year. I figure that if I keep trying, a review panel will slip up at some stage and mistakenly award me a ton of cash.Re the review stuff: I was advised to make notes of everything I do throughout the year and to keep everything together in the same file, folder or drawer so that I have easy access when review time rolls around (I'm so anal that I also keep everything listed on a spreadsheet). Our reviews are compiled online so every month, I add stuff to my online file so that I'm not stuck typing it all in at the end of the year.

  • Ink says:

    No Thank Yous suck. I only want Sure, Here You Gos. Won't your school look positively at the time you spent putting together the submissions, regardless of outcome? I would. Plus, remember that Zig Zigler said something like "Every no gets you closer to a yes." Good luck on the two out there!word verification: thescrac. It sounds like what people who say no to us deserve: the scrac!

  • Candid Engineer says:

    For every rejection, my friend, you are that much closer to success. Given that you are not a moron, probability is something that you can count on. Keep at it.

  • DamnGoodTechnician says:

    That which does not kill you, and somesuch. As long as you can keep your own self separate from the rejections ("I'm a terrible scientist because these grants keep getting rejected"), which many of my friends are wont to do, you'll be fine.(Not that you're looking for platitudes...)

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Oh, I'm not hung up on the rejections, it's part of the deal. It's just interesting to see the sum total of a shit-load of effort summarized on a page and knowing that this page is all I have to show for it. It'll work out eventually, if only because they'll be sick of seeing my damn grant and just throw money at me to get me to stop. I'm taking Andy's library letter writing campaign right out of Shawshank Redemption. PiT, I have been keeping a file on all of the things I have been doing so I can slap it into the annual review. I just got last year's report from the next-most-junior-faculty member as an example, which is really useful. He put in more text then I had envisioned though, so this may take longer than I thought.

  • Thomas Joseph says:

    Thank goodness I work for the government. Granted, I have a ton of useless paperwork to handle as well, but I don't have to crawl on my hands and knees for money to keep my lab up and running.

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