Study Section: Act II

Oct 08 2008 Published by under Grant Review, Grantsmanship, Humor, Tribe of Science

Time: One to six weeks prior to February, June or October, two rounds after Act I.
Setting: Assorted messy professorial offices, planes, hotels

    Dramatis Personæ:

  • Assistant Professor Yun Gun (ad hoc)
  • Associate Professor Rap I.D. Squirrel (standing member)
  • Professor H. Ed Badger (standing member, second term)
  • Dr. Cat Herder (Scientific Review Officer)
  • Badger's Highly Accomplished Administrative Assistant, Eunice

Six weeks before the study section meeting:
Yun Gun: [Logs into Commons, downloads each assigned grant, starts reading each one cover-to-cover]
Rap I.D. Squirrel: [Glances at email from SRO Cat Herder announcing the opening of the Submit Phase on Commons, deletes, goes back to work]
H. Ed. Badger: [Flying back from three weeks "collaborating" with his buddy in Bordeaux]
Two weeks before the study section meeting:
YG: [Exhausted] OMG! I can't believe these people can do this every round! I've been reading proposals and writing my four page critiques for weeks in every spare moment!
RS: hmm, wonder what I did with that study section CD....[hunts around on desk] aha! Password? wtf? for each damn proposal and summary statement? This blows...better log into Commons where I can at least save them after three clicks each...can the CSR do anything more to dissuade us from actually reading these things? [starts reviewing] I swear... one of these days I'm going to just use a template like I suspect ol' Badgie does....
HB: [shuttling to three invited talks spread out around the world]

One week before the study section meeting, two days prior to Commons posting deadline:
YG: oh, I'm nervous to see what the other reviewers thought on my assigned grants...when did Cat Herder say the Read Phase opened?
RS: dangit! I forgot to finish up those three grant reviews I had left...wonder if I can get to them by the deadline...oh well, we only get 60% by the deadline anyway, I can finish up on the weekend.
HB: hmm, don't I have some grants to review around here somewhere? [pokes through desk for 20 min, finally calls TurboAdmin Eunice who deftly extracts the ten R01 pdfs she's printed out for HB to read]
Eunice: "And don't forget you have a seminar speaker showing up in three hours...."
HB: okay, better get rocking. File:Open ....where is it, where is it....ahh ''. SaveAs, SaveAs, SaveAs........alright, sortin' time
[glances through PI and title for all ten applications, scans five Abstracts, checks two Biosketches]
Let's edit!
[cut, insert, cut, brief interlude of mad typing, paste, cut, recheck application, mad typing, cut, cut] ...lemme see here....[reads critique, re-skims part of proposal]....ok, good enough for gover'mint work!
[Repeat X 9] Done!
Eunice, knocking: "Professor Badger, the seminar speaker Professor GrossKopf is here to see you..."
HB: "Hey Grossie! Let's hit the coffeeshop.....Eunice, would you please upload those critiques to Commons by 9pm Eastern? Thanks!"

Read Phase:
RS: [already in Bethesda, meeting with some intramural collaborators] whoops, still have two left to review, don't I?
HB: "Eunice? Can you print out the critiques for my assigned grants? I'll take those on the plane to DC..."
YG: I'm on three with Professor Badger this time, let's see what he has to say.....hmm, kinda!!??? Does he just lightly edit the same damn critique every time!???!!!

5 responses so far

  • niewiap says: hilarious!!!! Act III, please!!!

  • PM says:

    DM, which one are you? YG?

  • Alright, DM. My hat's off to you, brother. This was funny enough that the domestic and laboratory goddess laughed hard enough to pee a little.
    Now all you need are some cheeky illutrations.

  • BKProf says:

    Oh man, it's hard to get me laughing this early in the a.m., but you succeeded. I second the motion for an Act III. As someone of the Squirrel family, I see myself and many colleagues in your scenarios.
    Oh, and have I mentioned that I can NOT WAIT until my 4-year stint is over? I inwardly curse harder every time the Cat Herder sends me another pile of goodies. (Unlike PP, I am not of the outwardly cursing persuasion.)

  • pffffffuuudd says:

    Grant loads are way up. We had two, count 'em, two ad hocs. This sucks for applicants. What about expertise?

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