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The four types of grant writing advice

March 21, 2012

Attended an NIH focused grant workshop at the local university last week. This one stands out because it involved several faculty from my department and seemed to be geared towards my interests (NIH monies). The faculty gave mini-presentations on just what it is that you have to know (and do) to be successful at obtaining grants. The somewhat rapid fire nature of the presentations made the differences of the styles of advice really pop out.

In thinking about all of the advice I’ve gotten about grant writing, I think things vary along two dimensions (or four types)

Vague-Idealistic
Just work hard and do good science! That’s the key!

Vague-Cynical
Honestly I don’t know how I get them. I just click submit and pray.
If you don’t already have one you’re probably screwed. Heck if funding rates get any lower they may take my grant back.

Detailed-Idealistic
Have you read my book about my 14 step process?
Who is your PO? I’m friends with most of them.

Detailed-Cynical
Remember to cite all of the people on the panel!
What font are you using? God help you if it isn’t Georgia.

I’m not sure which is my favorite.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 5:33 pm

    Wow, that cracked me up….God help us all!

  2. GMP permalink
    March 21, 2012 11:28 pm

    Hahaha! This was brilliant!

  3. March 22, 2012 9:02 am

    Cool, CPP was there to present the Detailed Cynical viewpoint?

  4. DrugMonkey permalink
    March 22, 2012 9:59 am

    The first one is actively dangerous. The third is clearly the best though, with a slight dollop of #4

  5. March 22, 2012 10:39 am

    Type 5: Throw it all out the window. Volunteer to sit on the panel and hear the discussions. All panels are different, so the one-size-fits-all advise for grant writing doesn’t work, in my opinion.

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