Today I had another brief meeting with Herb to go over my NSF research proposal again.
He is incredibly good at pointing out conceptual or structural errors in a proposal and how questions should be framed. It's like once he mentions how something should be rearranged I think to myself, "Why didn't I see that? I knew that part was awkward." So now I'm finishing up version 4 of my proposal with the focus on the overarching research question instead of the system. He gave me some pointers about this last time, but I didn't quite get it. Now it seems so much clearer! I suppose he has the clarity of thought that comes with decades of writing grants and thinking about his area of expertise.
Only one week until this is due! I'm still struggling with the complete reorganization of my personal statement to explain why I want to study what I want to study and how and why I plan to do outreach to the community.