Recently I wrote about prioritizing: when do you choose to do experiments and when do you write papers and/or grants? Over the past year I’ve invested a lot of time in writing grants, with so far not the best results. And in my mind, that is the difference between investing time in papers vs grants. Papers will always end up somewhere, even if it’s in the Scandinavian journal of a Very Specific Sub-Subfield. But grants can get rejected, and then rejected again, and then go to die somewhere. Of course grants are just ideas (+ some preliminary data), whereas papers contain results, so it makes sense that it is this way.
But it does feel like a waste of time and energy when you have a grant rejected. And with the current funding lines of 10-20% (at least for most of the things that I have recently applied for) this will likely happen more often than not. But at which funding rate do you stop trying? I’m asking this because yesterday I found out that a fellowship I applied for had a funding rate of only around 3%. They did not mention this anywhere, so I had for some optimistic reason assumed it would be higher. It was not. And I didn’t get this fellowship. Had I known that it was only 3%, would I still have applied? In this case, most likely I would have because I basically recycled an older application so it didn’t cost me that much time. But in case I needed to start writing from scratch I’m not sure.
So, where do you draw the line? Or do you always apply regardless of funding percentage?
You know when you’re writing something in Word and all of a sudden there’s this weird formatting going on? And you have no clue how to fix it, because even copying-and-pasting text that is formatted correctly somewhere else jumps into weird format when you put it in that specific spot? Today I accidentally moused over the button that changed all of this. Word has a “Clear Formatting” button!! This may literally save years of my life from frustration and time to fix weird formatting. The picture on the right shows where it is in my version (Word 2007). Like @TellDrTell called it: “A little slice of heaven”.
Filed under word, writing
This morning, I overheard someone in the lab say:”We’ll put that somewhere deep in the discussion; I never read the discussion anyway”. This person said that if ze reads a papers fast, ze’ll read the results section to figure out what the paper is about. To me that was kind of weird, because if I read a paper fast I’ll read the abstract, look at the figures and then read the discussion. Because there the authors will summarize their findings but also put them in perspective and hint at future directions.
What do you read when you quickly scan through a paper?
So I’m writing this grant that (or which???
is kind of important because if I get it I have a job back in the home country. I have papers that I need to read, I thought about the aims, hypotheses and experiments and I have a bunch of successful and unsuccessful
of this particular grant. But instead of reading and writing I am staring at these example grants, wondering if I need a better CV or a different topic to work on. “Oh hey, this person got a travel award in 2005 to go to meeting such and such”. I’m thinking this is NOT why you need those example grants…
The way I work best is by reading background papers first, then thinking about what I am going to write, and then sit down and in a short amount of time write the background. However, at the moment I haven’t read enough to do that. So I think instead of marveling at other people’s grants, I should read papers, do a boring task in the lab and think about how I am going to write MY background. Alright, I’m off to do some histology or aliquoting or something. Also, what are your sekrits to successful writing??
Today at Scientopia, I’m writing about how the experiments that I’m currently doing should fit previous data in order to go into a paper. Is this ethical and how can we prevent bias in such cases?
Today, at Scientopia I write about how sometimes my interests aren’t necessarily someone else’s interests and how to deal with that.