Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Staring at other people’s grants

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 examples 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??


  1. Staring at other people's grants only helps you in terms of granstmanship *techniques* -- not in terms of getting ideas for your grant's content.

    Some questions to think about: How are the grants organized? What do they do that makes it particularly persuasive?

    With respect to writing the background, if you know what experiments you want to do, write your Aims first. Then, find the literature that helps you tell the story that gets you from point A of BIG DISEASE X or whatever to point B, My Experiments Need to be Done. I also find that I spend a lot of time (~6weeks or so) staring into space and letting my mind wander during spin class and then write the whole thing over maybe 2-3 weeks afterwards. I like to think that somehow all that ceiling-gazing is necessary "processing" time. :)

    1. Thanks for your advice Becca! I have my aims written and I think I just need to incubate it in my head a little longer instead of staring at my word document!