The inestimable writedit has a hilarious (in a "sick sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach for that grant you just submitted" kind of way) post up over on Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship entitled "How to Prevent Grant Funding". Even better you can help.
I need to come up with 45 min worth of what not to do if you want to get funded. I could come up with dozens and dozens of bullets like this, and I have priceless gems from actual narratives that I couldn't possibly make up if I tried. But I really am interested in what fatal flaws crop up in the routine grant-writing life of a reagent-quality scientist.
as a brief teaser:
- Mislabel tables/figures (better yet, don't include any)
- Only address the comments you agree with in your revision introduction
- Propose experiments using reagents/cell lines/transgenic models you don't have & are challenging to generate
- Propose complex aims each of which is contingent on achievement of the one prior
- End vague sentences describing statistical analyses with "etc."
- Mention by name as many well-known investigators as possible without explaining/justifying their role, which has no budget allocation either (no need for biosketch, everyone knows who they are - or a letter of support, hate to bother them)
- Use as many uncommon abbreviations as possible (defining each is optional - saves more space)
HA, HA! Great stuff. And keep in mind, writedit is speaking from painful experience fixing her poor charges' grants for them. All true-dat!
Writedit's readers are already chiming in with some good stuff in the comments and as you can imagine are less polite. Go read.
Once this thread runs its natural course I'm going to have to print out all the bullet points for my wall.
My contribution to the "how to prevent funding"? Poke the bull with a big pointy stick. I mean, doood, what was I thinking?