Friday, November 6, 2009

Funding versus Science

Yesterday, I ended up doing none of the things I intended to do, but cleaned them instead: (1) No bench-work, but a clean bench (and fridge and freezer spaces)!; (2) No emails, but a clean inbox!; (3) No thinking, but a clean mind! (Well, moreso than usual.)

My ears were also itching, because I realized that the NIH panel that's review my postdoc grant application was meeting, and was extra-worried, since now the Genome BC grant almost certainly will depend on the outcome of those scores.

Anyways, towards the end of the day, I switched over to browsing journals, which I rarely do these days...

I found a lot of good stuff I probably already should've known about, but I also found this opinion piece in PLoS about "what's wrong with funding of research". Pretty much sounds about right. I am not even in a position to have the stresses described in the article, but feel like if I don't get some kind of postdoc fellowship of my own, I'll be that much less likely to get hired as an independent researcher, since so much of what defines success is the ability to get money. But all of the PIs I know are overwhelmed by exactly these issues. It's especially daunting to realize that a full-sized NIH R01 grant can barely support a lab with 2-3 people.

On the other hand, my recent experiences with Rosie do bring home the fact that grant-writing is a good way to think rigorously about one's plans, and the Genome BC experience in particular (whether the grant is funded or not) helped our brains wrap around exactly what we'll be doing in the next couple of months.

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