Archive for the 'on the job training' category

Grants v. Papers

May 21 2011 Published by under grants, jr faculty, on the job training

Well, it is at least 5 h after the rapture should have made it to my time zone, and I'm still here. Not a surprise, really. I was never really that worried about whether I would be raptured. One of the benefits of being an atheist, I suppose.

One thing I have been thinking about a lot recently, though, is the writing of papers versus grants. Specifically, given that I have finite time resources, which should I be focused on right now?

Clearly, I need to have both grants and pubs to get tenure. I am approaching the first anniversary of my faculty position, and I have submitted many grants with mediocre success. I have one paper in review right now, and another that will go out soon, but these both still have my postdoc PI as an author, so even though i am the corresponding author they only kinda count.

I have decided that this summer I will get back to the bench and focus on getting some data, moving projects forward and getting at least 2 manuscripts out the door. I feel like right now I have to focus on publishing. But I really don't know if this is the best strategy. Sure, eventually we will need to show productivity, but it is conceivable that I could ride the momentum that I have now and get more cash.

I really don't know the correct answer here. But I'm s little burned out on grant writing. And I would like to see something actually happen. I also think that me being at the bench more this summer could be good to get my two grad students started off on the right foot.

Time will tell.

28 responses so far

>random wanderings

Jul 24 2010 Published by under jr faculty, on the job training

>Since my appointment to asst. prof 23 days ago, I have submitted 3 grant applications. The first was a non-competitive transition of my K99 to R00 phase (that seems to be going well), the second was for a pilot grant (it is not yet clear if there is actually any money for these grants-wtf), and the third was a short proposal for an internal competition to apply for a young investigator award (I will NOT be one of the applicants this year). I have 3 more deadlines on the calendar so far. I really hope that I can make it through the internal competition to get to apply to at least 1 of them. Sigh. But enough wallowing. Moving on.

I have been very busy the last couple of weeks getting people in my lab. This week I think that everyone is to the place that data can start to be produced. wOOt!!1!!!1!! Here's the rub-I have to leave tomorrow for a family vacation. Yes, HAVE TO. I've been told this is not optional, even though I'm a little nervous leaving my nOOb lab peeps alone with no guidance. We spent a lot of time this week going around to our neighbors asking for little things (today I realized we had no EDTA, for example). I'm hoping that this instills a feeling in my peeps that they can go outside the walls of our little fiefdom lab for help. No doubt that I will be jumping anytime my phone makes a sound over the next few days, though.

Today I joined my first grad committee. A student that I've spoken to a few times (rather informally) stopped by my office to see if I would replace someone on his committee that is leaving the dept. I hope that this will serve as a way to learn how committees function from the other side of the table without having my first meeting be a general exam. We'll see.

OK, back to work. I have some papers to get out and grants to write. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me -- maybe there will be some data waiting for me when I get back next week!

4 responses so far

>Tactical error

Jul 18 2010 Published by under exhaustion, jr faculty, on the job training, venting

>First of all, thanks to everyone that un-lurked for the meme post. I read all the comments, and it is pretty fun knowing who is out there. One theme seemed to be that folks were interested in how the new TT job goes. I believe that you often learn more when something goes wrong than when all is smooth. If that is true, I must have learned a SHIT-TON the last couple of weeks.

Anywho, prepare to be learned:
The last two weeks have been crazy. I don't think that I have EVER been this wiped out. It all started happily enough, by getting folks into my lab wOOt!!!!!!11!1!11!! I got an hourly employee that was super helpful- orders were getting placed, boxes were getting unpacked, NLSU rebates were being processed. So, I hire a tech and pick up an undergrad. We had a lab-warming party! Now we're gonna start making some data! All is well in GZ Lab.

This is where I mess up. It turns out...drumroll, please...training people takes A LOT of time. And I have a grant due in 12 days! A grant that I was writing on something that isn't currently on the front burner. So it was a lot of work. Except that I have to spend all my days training my peeps. Except I really need to be writing. But my peeps...but the grant...this is where implosion occurs. I haven't been getting a lot of sleep.

I know that for my lab to be successful I will need to get different projects funded. I'm OK with that. Hell, I'm excited to be able to keep all my projects going full steam all of the time. Because up to now I have been the only hands doing the work. I have always been in small labs without a lot (or any) technical assistance-all but 1 of my pubs are 2-author deals. So I stepped in a steaming pile of crap because I underestimated how much time training people would take. In the end it all worked out. I met my grant deadline, and next week experiments will be up and running! This morning, I slept in. Then I played with kiddo all day. It was good. Tomorrow I'll go back to the lab and get the next couple of grants planned out so that I can avoid the pile next time. Because one of the crystal-clear lessons from the last two weeks is that I need to be more efficient with my writing.

One response so far

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