Various Lies

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Once more unto the breach, Dear friends

Today is R01 grant submission deadline day. We have to get our grant to our Office of Research Administration as soon as we can so they can over the fucker with a fine toothed comb and:

A) make sure the routing numbers, DUNS numbers etc. are correct

B) make sure I haven't utterly fucked up the budget (a little over a million bucks here)

C) pick on my spelling.

last time the administrator was actively, as far as I can tell, try to not send my grant in on time. At the very last minute before the deadline was closing she sent it back to me with apparent "major problems and flaws" in my budget. It wasn't wrong, and besides, she had tripled checked it already. but no, she apparently found fault at Zero hour. I had to get the Dean of the College of Medicine to yell, doing my reputation no fucking good, before it got sent.

It is beyond frustrating having to deal with administrative assistants who think that their job is to actually stymie the research endeavor. this is not unique to my current institution; one glance at any of the academic science bloggers sites shows you everyone goes through this. It really drives me crazy. The indirect costs (i.e. the bit the institute charges on top of the money we need to do our jobs) pay for a lot of things around the wages of the administrative staff.

We have to charge the Feds 48% on top of what we need just because the institute has decided that this makes sense to cover admin salaries, air conditioning (that rarely works), security (someone stole a shotgun from them last year and then robbed the cop shop with it).

This bastard of a grant has died and been resurrected three times in as many days. After I had a nervous breakdown on Friday my boss finally decided to help. She wrote the research part over the weekend, which is remarkable and infuriating. Why have I been bashing my head against a brick wall of silence trying to get my colleagues to help me for weeks now when she knew what to do all along? And no, it's nothing to do with hazing, or testing or trial by fire. It's just the way of the world.

Anyway, once you've written the fucker you have to go the joy of compiling dozens of PDFs into a fucked up form the Feds give you, so the whole shebang can be submitted on line. It is nerve wracking, almost infinitely complex and almost as annoying as writing the grant in the first place (hyperbole: I actually like writing grants - when I have the support I need). Well, my boss is trying to put the finishing touches on this beast while I prepare the forms. last time I had to do all of this on my own and it nearly killed me.

I am taking a sick delight in pestering her for biosketches and letters and cover forms and mutiple PI decision making plans and inclusion enrolement plans and women & minority protection plans and bibliographies and...and...and...and...

when I last went into her office she was literally vibrating with stress at her computer with a fixed grin...a rictus you might say... She turned to me and said, "Now I understand".

That's all I needed to hear.


Prof-like Substance said...

The "form" has got to be the most hellish invention ever created.

tideliar said...

Glad I'm not the only one that think so. Although now I've done it once before this time I kind of knew how bad to expect, so it was less-utterly soul destroying.

My body has gone into post-grant/end of semester shut down my faculty chums are facing. I feel like 2 lbs of shit in a 1 lb bag...

Ms.PhD said...


I know EXACTLY what you're talking about

this is the stuff that makes me seriously wonder if I would be crazy NOT to quit

The bean-mom said...

Wait, the RO1 deadline isn't till June 5. Your Office of Research Admin is demanding the grant *this week*?! Bleeding Nazis!

My Office of Grants and Contracts would like our RO1 in advance, too. Are they going to get it? Probably not. Are they going to complain? Yes. Does that change the behavior of our PIs/scientist in any way? No way.

tideliar said...

@MsPhD: LOL, I haven't thought about quitting, but my boss did notice my blood pressure rising dangerously, "You head has gone very red. Are you OK?"

@Bean-mom: It's not *that* bad: we're on a different deadline than the standard submissions. The NIH deadline was today (Friday), so our ORA wanted it on Monday.