Saturday, August 15, 2015

My department chair told me I'm planning too many grants

I had a meeting yesterday with my department chair.   I was really excited because I was just notified that I received the nomination from our university to apply for TWO(!) of the super fancy early career scholar awards.  I also had a department of defense grant make it through the pre-proposal phase.  Then I told my chair that I also wanted to write the new NIGMS MIRA grant that is due next month, as well as my R01 resubmission.  I basically have grants due every 2-3 weeks from now until Christmas. 

I don't think I wrote on this blog yet that my R01 for which I got an R56 actually scored much worse on its resubmission.  A LOT worse.  As in, I need to replace 2 of 3 aims, and completely re-write the third one.  The study section was completely re-populated and they just hammered everything this time. 

So it is imminent that my lab will have a funding gap, though technically with a no-cost extension of the R56, my salary requirement from the university will still be covered for another year.  But I feel like I cannot miss applying for any of these grants!  My department chair, on the other hand, told me that the quality of my applications will go down if I try to do all of these.  The chair said something to the effect of, "I know you're a workaholic, but nobody can submit this many grants in this amount of time while running a lab and teaching." 

The fancy scholar grants aren't really a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but they basically set you on a path to being famous, and make you part of a cohort of famous scientists that you'll know for the rest of your career.  I think I would be regretful if I didn't give those my best shot.  The DOD grant is a lot of money and my research fits perfectly into one of this year's goals.  However, it's also a long application with a ton of paperwork.  MIRA is a pilot program and is also currently only open to new investigators and early stage investigators, so I may not be eligible in the future.  Plus, I think I'm a good candidate, so I can't see not applying to that one.  As for my R01, I also can't see not submitting a revised version, since scores almost always get better on a resubmission.  If I had to eliminate one, I think it would be the DOD grant, but I'm very open to any advice or suggestions. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if this is too late. I agree with your assessment. I would focus on early career grants. The DOD is a great granting opportunity so I am not sure if you have a postdoc or senior graduate student (that isn't too busy with lab work) who would be willing to write major sections of the DOD grant (then you coudl review it by each section when he or she is done). I've written many grants with my PI as both a graduate student and posdoc. If you are willing, you could list the postdoc as a co-investigator. This way both of you win.

    On a separate note, thank you for all your advice on the K99/R00 grant application process. It has been hard for me to get a lot of help on this process. I will be submitting my grant soon, so I just wanted to say thanks!

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  2. Glad the blog helped! I hadn't thought of having anyone in my lab take on the responsibility for one of these grants. I'll have to give that some more thought, weighing whether or not it would be worth it to have one of them away from the bench.

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