Various Lies

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Time fugits

I have decided, but have yet to clear with the powers that be, that my R01 grant submission to the National Institutes of Health, is the FAIL and is no way getting submitted by Monday.

My unit is involved in an RC2 "Grand Opportunity" grant for several million, and I need to edit text and get writing done for that. This is a brilliant project I wish I'd been more involved with from the start. Unfortunately one of my bosses works for a different institute and he is consolidating his powerbase and has effectively shut us out and we (me and my boss) are in the "testing staff" section. Not so bad for me, I'm the new kid and very junior, but not great for her. I'm kind of pissed, but the chance to do some great science makes it worthwhile if we get funded. Anyway, that's due at the same time as my R01, and I need to work on it for a couple of days to get our section water-tight.

Another poobah has approached us and wants text for P20 grant, a multi-site clinical trial "tester" grant. Again, there's not much money for us, but the exposure is probably worth it. He's got 40 years of successful funding from the NIH and is "not used to being turned down for funding," so hopes are high on this one too. But he needs text by tomorrow for submission in a week.

And there's a conference at the end of the year I really want to go to and the deadline for abstract submission is tomorrow. Needless-to-say I've got a draft of an abstract that is complete shite that I need re-write and get submitted in the next 36 hours.

I've written the background, aims and preliminary studies section of my R01, but the important part, the real meat is the Research and Design bit and it doesn't fucking exist right now. I work with a lot of non-biomedical computer scientists and they love to write code and develop cool new applications for our software and database, but I can't get them to write for me. I'm fucking biomedicial scientist, I cannot write a 15 page software development proposal. Maybe if we try again in September i can get these people working for me on something concrete to the Feds.

Everyone seems to think that some fucking wishy-washy "oh wow man, what a cool idea dude" grant is going to work. no fucking way. The NIH want to see fixed experimental details, back-up plans, alternative interpretations. They want to know *exactly* where they are investing their money. This pie int he sky bullshit stands no chance of even being scored. It will bounce back, un-graded and we'll be fucked submitting another substandard grant next May. Maybe if I can get these folks to help me over the summer we can submit a decent proposal in September. If we do a decent job we should get scored at least, and then adopting reviewer comments puts in a good position to re-submit next summer.

This is how the system works. Explaining this to my boss is not easy however, because all she sees (rightfully so in some ways) is that the money is not coming until mid 2011. I need to convince her that a good chance at funding in 18 months is infinitely better than no chance in 2 years...

Fuck. bits of my job like this I hate. I have to go eat shit for generalist "failings". I guess I should have bullied harder, but I figured after having gone through this once at the beginning of the year, they would have understood the need to help me.

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