Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm so sick of writing grants

The title says it all. The summer before I started grad school, someone told me, "If you just apply for as many small grants as you can, you're bound to get something eventually." I took the advice to heart. I applied for a whole bunch of small grants and I got a bunch of small grants (and some fellowships). That's awesome. I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing without that support. What I regret now is not trying to apply for bigger money about a year ago. I've funded everything with a couple thousand dollars here and there, totally piecemeal. I've spent an inordinate amount of time keeping track of all of the expenses from the different pots of money (and then trying to get my university to actually give me the money...). Unfortunately, I'm not quite finished. I sent out a grant last week that will cover almost everything, but even if I get that I'll need a little bit more, and if I don't get that I'm not sure what I'll do.

If I'd known when I was applying to grad school what I know now, I think I might have tried harder to find an advisor who already had a big grant that could support at least some of my research. I guess I could've gotten in on Herb's big project, but I chose to strike out on my own. What was I thinking? I'm so sick of writing grants.


gigirose said...

oh, lady.
you are singing my tune.
so tired of stringing together the smaller grants.

seems like my committee is always asking me "what about X?" or "have you looked into Y?" to which my answer is always "show me the $$$ and I will make it happen"

hang in there.

Jax said...

Hm... I've been warned about this a great deal. Just about everyone I've met/talked with has suggested I jump in on an already-funded project. I really want to have some autonomy in my project construction and the basis behind the study. I thrive under ownership, and chafe when I feel like I'm doing someone else's work. Ideally, I'd get in on a big grant and also be able to do my own funded project.

But look at it this way-- you have far more experience writing grants than just about anyone else getting their PhD. It will be hugely valuable when trying to get a job later on, and when funding later projects, especially if you decide to stick with research!

Karina said...

gigirose, there are some little grants that just aren't worth the effort at this point.

Jax, I hope you find the right balance for you!

Teaching sounds way better to me right now.

African Fieldworker said...

In my field, no one goes on their advisor's grants. We all get our own. I've had some small ones and some big ones; anything that goes through the university is difficult to deal with, no matter it's size. My $20,000+ grant that goes straight to me has been much easier to manage than the $500 grants I got from my university.

You should definitely go for a big one, like an NSF DDIG, looks great on your CV.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid if you don't like writing grants, you better get out of research.