A Grant Professional Association colleague of mine likes to challenge nonprofits and grant writers with asking them, “So what?” Likewise it’s a challenge to researchers. As an open-ended question, this stops people in their tracks about their or the organization’s mission and goals. It should stop academic scientists too. To me, it is about taking time to consider the following questions about your research: [Read more…]
A frequent piece of advice in academic science is to have someone else read your grant proposal before submission. That advice usually means having a colleague review your grant proposal. Another pair of scientifically literate eyes can determine whether your ideas engage the reader and tell a good research story. An extra pair of eyes can also find grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors.
Grant writing and reviewing groups are advantages within research associations and collaborations where this kind of collegial review occurs for a few lucky scientists. The rest of the research community is mostly on its own. Most faculty members are on their own because they are just as busy as their mythic colleague with the duties of teaching, research, and service. Likely, nobody has the time required for a deep review of a proposal that isn’t theirs. The mythic colleague doesn’t have time for significant mentoring through the grant proposal process either. [Read more…]
Grant consulting is hard work. I am fortunate to belong to the Grant Professionals Association. It is a great group and I’ve found some great colleagues. Scientist members are pretty rare within the organization, but there are large higher education and health care special interest groups. Once I got more involved with the local chapter and then attended the national convention, I was stunned to realize how much I knew about grants just from preparing NSF and similar proposals. This past January, I was the invited guest for #grantchat on Twitter. Here is a link to the Storify archive of that chat. There is more at grantchat.org.
What kind of life is possible after the dissertation? What kind of a career is for me outside academia?
These are a couple of the important questions that arise from Jacquelyn Gill’s Blog Carnival call on What’s Your Post-PhD Story? Pieces of my post PhD story are within this website and elsewhere, but for personal reasons I won’ t link them here.
Graduate school, postdoctoral experience, and the tenure track position for me all happened in the 1980s. In my opinion and from personal observation, that decade saw increasing numbers of women in the life sciences and other STEM disciplines. This is the beginning the numerical parity with men that exists now in biology. It is also the decade, where molecular biology really began to advance in a significant way. [Read more…]
Academic writers work more slowly and tend to labor over their work as discussed in this post. Academic writers and grant proposal writers share much. Many academics write grants to further their research and scholarship. At some point both grant proposal and academic writers have to stop tinkering and submit that work.
After all that work of rewriting, formatting, spell checking and proofreading finding an error or errors after submitting the work brings on a sinking, if not traumatic feeling. There is some good news from the distant past. Errors found after the fact did not seem to matter so much for the author quoted below, who wrote some great stories. She must have had a thick skin; and I for one, love her attitude.
“There are a few Typical errors; and a “said he,” or a “said she,” would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear – but I do not write for such dull Elves.”
– Jane Austen, writing to her sister Cassandra on January 29, 1813, on errors found in the first edition of Pride and Prejudice.