For those who complain that writing grants takes away from the time you could be spending "doing science," blogger DrugMonkey says grant writing is, indeed, part of doing said science. A commenter, Grumble, on DrugMonkey's blog recently said that grant writing isn't science, it's "fund-raising," and that keeping his lab afloat by submitting a constant stream of grants has left "precious little time … for anything else." However, DrugMonkey says that, yes, there will be times in your life as a PI when you will do nothing but write grants, but "grantsmithing is a skill that you refine with practice," and as you get better at it, it will take up less time. Second, he adds, the intellectual work that goes into writing grants "is the very essence of 'doing science,'" especially as a PI. "Setting a longer term strategic plan for a few years' worth of experiments is a good idea, is it not?" DrugMonkey asks, adding "Thinking hard about what the existing data, beyond the Abstract level, really mean when it comes to betting your experimental effort. Figuring out what collaborative relationships are going to kick it up a notch or two. Putting a fine focus on the exact preliminary experiments you've done or need to do" is all part of doing science and has to be done to make science happen in the lab. In other words, DrugMonkey adds, "Time to grow up, Assistant Professors."
Aug 15, 2011