For any number of reasons, this March has been the toughest month I've had in this job. It just seems as though everything of importance has been co-scheduled with some of the biggest time sucks known. It happens and I've just had to keep my head down, get shit done and let some things go for now. After early next week things will be much much better.
One thing that has been an incredible positive, however, has been an ongoing collaboration that was started back when I traveled to Europe late last year. A conversation started over coffee that has grown over time and has evolved into a multinational opportunity to combine the expertise of a few labs to delve into a question that none of the labs could have done on their own. It's been an exciting process and the grant proposal that has resulted from the collaboration is something to behold.
But, it's not just the combination of ideas that has me so excited. I've had my share of collaborations in the past and they are always a little risky because it's nearly impossible to figure out ahead of time whether or not you will work well with another person(s) when you're up against a deadline or when something goes wrong. People can do plenty of talking, but you have to know that they will send you some needed text when you are three days from a grant deadline or that they will do the analysis that they said they would so you can include new data.
With this collaboration (so far) everything has played out better than I could have hoped. The main foreign PI has done everything I asked and more, including sending data and text when I've needed it, coordinated and facilitated some work with other labs and consistently provided helpful feedback on things. It's been good. Now we'll see if we can secure the funds to formalize this relationship and keep the ball rolling.