Grant Writing Boot Camp

Proposal Sergeant: On your feet you hackers! Up, up up up up! What do you think this place is, one of your conferences where you can sleep in late and grab a cafe-latte on your way to the keynote lecture? NO IT IS NOT! This is a grant writing boot camp! We’re up bright and early because you need to write those applications, and write them you will! Now Line up with your laptops!

All: Yes proposal sergeant!

Proposal Sergeant: Remember this all you miserable excuse for scientists: YOU WILL WRITE THOSE GRANTS! You will write EARLY and OFTEN as if your livelihood depended on it. Because so help me, your livelihood DOES depend on it! Am I making myself clear?!

All: Yes proposal sergeant!

Proposal Sergeant (turns to Dr. Jefferey): “Dr. Jeffery, FRONT and CENTER!”

Dr. Jefferey: “Proposal Sergeant, sir!”

Proposal Sergeant: Don’t call me ‘sir’ you twit, I work for a living. What have you got for me?

Dr. Jeffery: I have written most of the research plan on my R01 si… uh, Sergeant

Proposal Sergeant: (mocking Dr. Jeffery’s tone) “I have written most of the research plan on.. WHO GIVES A DAMN ABOUT YOUR PLAN!? Company, what does a study section member read 90% of the time?”

All: Specific Aims page only, Proposal Sergeant!

Proposal Sergeant: (sarcastically): Which. Is. Your. First. Page. Which is WHAT companEEEE!?

All: The most important part of the grant, Proposal Sergeant!

Proposal Sergeant: Y’all may actually be learning something…Dr. Lewis!!

Lewis (timidly): Yes, seargeant?

Sergeant (waving a sheaf of papers): “what IS THIS?”

Lewis: my NSF application, Sergeant?

Sergeant: Oh really? Read the part I underlined here, out loud LOO-ISSS!

Lewis (in a trembling voice): “…furthermore, this proposal will serve to advance human health in that…”

Sergeant: STOP!!! NO MORE!! Company, will someone please explain to this, this  postdoc-brain the error of her ways!?

Someone: uh, you mean that NSF will not fund grants that have to do with health, Sergeant?

Sergeant: Well, at least someone here has more than a single working synapse between their ears. YES! the National Science Foundation does not fund health-related grants. I would ask you what you were thinking Dr. Lewis, but obviously you were not. Back to formation!

(Lewis steps back to ranks)

Sergeant: and from that we learn, WHAT?

All: Learn the grant funding agency mission, Proposal Sergeant!

Sergeant: OK, ok. Now, Dr. Andrews…

Andrews: Sergeant?

Sergeant: (sotto voce): I see you have written a general proposal for exploring the effect of phthalates as mutagens. Care to explain why?

Andrews: well, it’s in my proposal.  Pthalates are a suspected mutagen, and I am suggesting that…

Sergeant: I DID NOT ask you about the content of your proposal, you nematode! Who gives an airborne copulation about that! I asked you why you wrote this as a response to an FOA and not an RFA!!

Andrews: uh…

Sergeant: (mockingly) “uh..”… the NIH came out with a specific request for proposals about phthalates last month! Why did you not write in response to the specific request, instead of writing in response to a general Funding Opportunity Announcement?!?

Andrews: well, I did not know that there was an RFA and..

Sergeant: COMPAN-EEEEE!!!

All: Read upcoming specific proposals all the time! Sergeant!

Sergeant: …AND?!

All: Application for a specific proposal is more fundable than a general funding opportunity announcelment!

(Andrews tries to hide a yawn)

Sergeant: what were you doing when the RFP came out Andrews!? (Chuckles) Sleeping?!

Andrews: Well, Proposal Sergeant, I do need some sleep and….

Sergeant: YOU’LL SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE DEAD OR WHEN YOU ARE FUNDED! And I don’t care which comes first! Back to ranks!

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