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