Open Thread

May 08 2013 Published by under Day in the life of DrugMonkey

Entertain me people. I'm begging you.

53 responses so far

  • Ronald Auktepus says:

    Let's debate if it's better to have three 2nd author papers in Nature or one 1st author PNAS paper....

    Or if having too many papers makes you look like an a-hole for being too ambitious and competitive...

    Or we can complain how we can't get a grant and its XXX fault, and we need to stop training PhDs, forever.

    Any of these topics would be suitable discourse for this eminent blog...

  • jipkin says:

    you should write a grant to figure out the effects of drugs on this behavior:

  • The Other Dave says:

    Dude, that's what the rest of the internet is for.

  • Lee says:

    "Or we can complain how we can't get a grant and its XXX fault, and we need to stop training PhDs, forever."

    I can't get a grant and it's Eric Cantor's fault. Plus I need low wage labor, so keep the PhD tap on.

  • Beaker says:

    jipkin, the vid indicates that previous estimates of the size of the behaviorome were too low. New tools will be required to measure the rota-dish behavior with high-throughput superresolution.

    I'd wager that LSD would reduce the time-delay to first centrifugal lap, despite average dish velocity being lower than in controls.

  • Industry Scientist says:

    This past Monday I gave a talk to my former grad school's postdoctoral association on my work and careers in industry in general. Beforehand I chatted with one of the school admins who I knew fairly well from my student days and it went something like this:

    Me: "So what is your incoming class size these days? Is it smaller?" (my incoming class was about 30 in 2000)

    Admin: "Oh no, we got 35 this year and a record number of applicants."

    Me: "Really? Even with the lack of funding and the sequester?"

    Admin: "Well, the dean was pushing for 50, but the sequester did make us cut back a bit."

    Me: *facepalm*

  • The Other Dave says:

    @Industry Scientist: Have entry-level salaries for PhDs in industry plummeted? I should think that the glut of talented postdocs out there unable to get faculty positions would be a lot of cheap fruit ripe for the picking.

    Or are they all foreigners going home? Have non-tenure track instructor salaries plummeted? Salaries at small teaching schools? More PhDs teaching K-12?

    Does anyone know? I want to know!

    DM: Entertain yourself by finding out the answers for me.

  • Industry Scientist says:

    @TOD

    Don't have any of that data. We do get a ridiculous number of applicants for every position and we have postdocs applying for RA positions, so the market is very saturated in that regard and we do have our pick of the best of the best who apply.

    But in terms of salary, my company actually pays a bit less than the industry standard across the board. It's one of the biggest complaints on job review websites and if you came here from another company you're likely to be disappointed in the offer.

    However, my starting salary was over double what a fourth-year postdoc makes, not including bonus, options, benefits, etc., so even though the salary was low compared to the industry standard, I was ecstatic at the offer. Maybe industry is getting scientists "cheap" these days - wouldn't be surprised - but I doubt anyone being recruited from academia as a postdoc is complaining.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    Is twitter down? Is that what is going on here?

  • Beaker says:

    I'd like to know if anybody has done an analysis of the sources of medical school funding over time, with a focus on percent of total income that is research overheads versus percent that is tuition.

    Here's what doesn't make sense to me. We have a shortage of slots in medical schools in the USA and a large excess of wannabee medical students, who will pay tuition up the wazoo. Why aren't we seeing more aggressive expansion of medical training programs? Is the education part of being a medical school not in the black? This is especially puzzling because most medical schools have a glut of trained PhD and MD researchers. Shouldn't they be "invested" in teaching more tuition-paying students if they ain't bringing in the overheads like in the old days?

  • becca says:

    Beaker- some of the factors on med schools:
    * We have a glut of residency applicants relative to residency spots. That is a more important bottleneck in the physician pipeline than the shortage of slots in med schools.
    * There is a bit more centralization of power for doctors- the AMA does lean on med schools to not flood the market.
    *MDs are expensive to train during their clinical years, especially because there are insurance issues to worry about. I think med schools still have no trouble staying in the black, because tuition can bloat pretty unchecked via loans, but I don't think they are quite funding other parts of the institutions.

  • Dave says:

    Old news TOD. That bill is pure comedy.

    We are reducing graduate student intake officially by 25% this year, but I suspect that it will actually be much more than that. There are just not enough funded labs for them to go to anymore. Almost all of our incoming grad students are foreign (Chinese mostly) if that helps.

  • Dave says:

    But maybe we should talk about this:

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/05/nih-details-impact-of-2013-seque.html

    If I were a non-scientist, I would not be that "impressed" by the severity of the NIH budget situation, and even as a scientist in the system it doesn't look as bad on paper (5% budget cut, 4% drop in total funded grants across the board etc). The reality, of course, is far different. The NIH needs to drastically work on getting it's message across. I worry that the NIH will be the last to see it's budget restored.

  • whatnow says:

    I'd like to know where a starting TT assistant professor can get some real, personalized advice about how to triage grants, papers, networking, and so on. Let's assume she's starting from a state of overwhelm/poor recent productivity and has a few half-baked projects and many quarter-baked ones. She doesn't feel comfortable being completely forthcoming with others in her department or her former advisers, whose judgment matters and who (in a few cases) might be competing with her. Should she burn through her start-up pursuing a particular project? Should she apply for several grants in the hope that at least the feedback will be useful and help shape her data-gathering efforts? Is it better to focus exclusively on papers/data for a few years--until the startup is mostly gone--so that she has a much better shot at a grant?

    I have no clue what I'm doing. (And, yes, I'm painfully aware that there are maybe scores or hundreds of people who would love to be in my position and are potentially better qualified.)

  • poke says:

    Entertainment? Where's NIHBudgetCutter when we need him!

  • drugmonkey says:

    suggestions for whatnow

    -lateral peers in other Universities can help. Your buddies who are just starting out, I mean. sometimes they can help-detached perspective so to speak.

    -older mentor-y types in different departments or disciplines. you might be trading specificity but then some of this stuff doesn't require specific knowledge.

    -undergraduate contacts?

    -email Comradde PhysioProffe and ask if he'd be willing to advise you.

  • drugmonkey says:

    My advice for whatnow:

    Should she apply for several grants in the hope that at least the feedback will be useful and help shape her data-gathering efforts?

    Yes. From the get go, newly minted assistant professors should be submitting grants. In the hopes of landing one, of course. In the hopes of getting useful feedback, sure. To learn grantsmithing....indubitably.

    Is it better to focus exclusively on papers/data for a few years--until the startup is mostly gone--so that she has a much better shot at a grant?

    Hell no. Yes, you need papers to show independent productivity of your new lab. yes, you need preliminary data to support your grant ideas. But there is no paper or amount of data that will guarantee you an award. Apply early, apply often.

    Should she burn through her start-up pursuing a particular project?

    startup should be used judiciously, of course. in pursuit of the above goals. At a minimum you need some preliminary data generated to support applications. Then, you need to get some publications going. The balance of how many papers, how deep of a dive into a given topic versus how to support many grant applications is the rub. There is no hard and fast rule and you have to come up with a balance that works for you. yes, working without a net is scary as shit. sorry. getting some outside mentoring advice can help here.

  • whatnow says:

    Thanks, DM.

  • Delora says:

    Contest for having used open source content in cool ways, including blogging. The prize money is my yearly salary. http://asap.plos.org/

  • Mr. Peanut says:

    I run a decent size lab for a group doing clinical trial work, with some mouse studies and basic protein work to keep me interested. There are 2 technicians we hired to do rather mundane tasks, which after a couple of years they are getting burnt out and want to delve into some of their own projects. How do you deal with keeping folks happy and prevent burn out? I'm tempted to put them on some other projects maybe 1 day per week and see what happens. Any insight?

  • Juniper says:

    When I read that you refused a once-in-a-decade graduate student because of the sequester, I was filled not only with sorrow but also with guilt.

  • The Other Dave says:

    @whatnow: Congrats on the job. This is a wonderful opportunity. Here is my advice:

    For all the talk here about grants and stuff, don't forget that your real job is to create new knowledge. -- publications. Do that and all else follows. Your science, measured in quality and quantity of publications, is the only true form of scientific credibility. Those pubs will go on your CV, and no one can ever take them away. Service work, grants, etc are all meaningless if you can't get the main job done (publish).

    So what to do with startup? Whether startup or grant money, remember that it should always and only be used to buy data. Your goal is to maximize the data per dollar. Spend it on people, services, equipment, whatever. But make sure you get data. Make sure that data is high quality and answers important questions, so you can publish it. Do not spend a penny on anything that is not going to help you publish. Do not spend money on preliminary data for grants unless you are going to publish that data. Do not spend money on people or equipment unless they produce lots of data.

    DM is right with regard to funding. You cant get any unless you apply, and these days you need to apply often. And there is no reason not to apply. So apply. Apply.

    But funding is not scientific success. It is only a proxy, and always has been, because deans are greedy and people are too lazy to read and understand your papers. Do not forget to get publications. Your startup is one of the biggest most flexible grants you will get in your life. If you blow through it and produce no publications, no one is going to give you more money to do it again.

    Do not forget to publish because you are too busy chasing funding.

    Publish. Remember your job is to publish. All the grantsmanship in the world pales in comparison to being known for a great discovery. Great papers will get you speaking invites, which will help you meet people and become part of the old boy network that recommends each other for funding.

    Get. Science. Done. Publish.

    Good luck.

    p.s. Get some papers out.

  • Drugmonkey says:

    Why guilt Juniper? As far as I am aware you don't work for me :-)?

  • Drugmonkey says:

    TOD-

    Papers help. Yes. But they are not a guarantee of funding. *Grants* are the way you sustain that paper production.

    I agree that startup should be traded for data...but papers are not the only valuable use of the money. Supporting grant applications is necessary.

  • Joe says:

    @whatnow Did you hire a tech? You need a good tech who will be producing prelim data for you and managing the day to day stuff in your lab while you are writing. This is one of the most important things start-up is good for.

  • The Other Dave says:

    I agree, DM, that funding sustains paper production. But...

    whatnot already lamented the fact that s/he is coming from a background of poor productivity. That's not going to look good on any application. I don't care how good a proposal is, if it doesn't look like the applicant can get anything done. Don't you also feel that when you read stuff?

    And if s/he doesn't get funded and loses his/her job? A long list of unfunded applications doesn't go on the CV. But publications does.

  • Ola says:

    @Beaker
    For most private med schools (i.e., academic medical centers at private universities with a hospital attached), tuition is a tiny part of the overall pie. At my institution, which has a total annual turnover of >$1bn, tuition income for the entire university (med' school, undergrad, paid graduate programs) is 2-3% of that. The lion's share is clinical revenue (both insurance and medic-are/-aid), licensing and IP revenue, and endowment burn. With changes in GME pending, tuition revenue is going to count for even less.

    @Whatnow
    The answer (unfortunately) is "all of the above". Should you be writing grants? Yes. Should you be writing paper? Yes. Should you be concentrating on a few key projects? Yes. Should you have back-burner projects in case those don't work out? Yes. Should you burn through your start-up to make a big impact early on? Yes.

    A couple of bits of advice...
    (i) Keep the staff young and with a relatively fast turnover while you have a young lab. Nothing kills the vigor of a new lab quicker than having a 40 something senior technician pulling down a huge salary and thinking they own the place. You DO NOT need a "lab manager" at this stage.
    (ii) If you're competing with your former advisor, consider breaking out into a new sub-field they're not in. The best way to do this is go to a conference they don't regularly attend, start moving in new circles.
    (iii) Don't forget to do the other things that will be required for you to get tenure in 5-7 years' time. Take on some teaching, sit on some university committees, get involved with the grad student recruitment process (a great way to get students into your lab).
    (iv) Develop a lab "brand", and that includes setting up a lab website, getting a twitter account, a blog, and other social media outlets. This will help distinguish you from the older folks in your department and elsewhere.
    (v) Take advice from people in similar positions. As much as older mentors are sometimes useful, they can be completely out of touch WRT things such as publishing or current trends in grantsmanship. I made the mistake of taking the advice of an emeritus professor who self-nominated himself as my mentor, advising me strongly to cut back on the number of "play" projects that were at the edge of my knowledge base. I did so and promptly got scooped on several key findings. What seems like "folly" to an old dude could be your bread-and-butter for the next 10 years. Far better to take advice from people just slightly higher up the chain than you, or your peers at other institutions.

  • Drugmonkey says:

    TOD-

    Sure. Getting one or two pubs that are from the new lab is essential. Five is not, and will not magically make that first grant application in year four successful.

  • Dave says:

    Good advice all round for starting a new lab. I'm certainly locked in and taking notes. Keep it coming. Where is CPP???

  • Joe says:

    @Ola, for whatnow "Take advice from people in similar positions. As much as older mentors are sometimes useful, they can be completely out of touch WRT things such as publishing or current trends in grantsmanship."

    The best advice I got on grantsmanship came from old guys, maybe not as old as Ola's old guy. My mentors in this endeavor were in the game and one chaired a study section. Talk to your colleagues that are on study section or do a lot of ad-hoc'ing for study sections.

  • whatnow says:

    Thanks, Ola, Other Dave, & Joe. I know the answer is "all of the above," but it helps to get a sense of the weight.

    I'm not in a bench field, so hiring a lab tech hadn't been on my mind. It probably should be. I'd be hiring a programmer, and hopefully one with some statistics background. They're expensive, but I budgeted for one. I've also hired an undergrad whom I don't expect to produce much data but who seems incredibly sharp, is versed in one of my weaker fields, and will be good to bounce ideas off of.

    What I'm unsure of is whether it's worth applying for two grants this summer when I have almost no preliminary data and no publications from my lab, which technically won't exist until a few weeks before the grant deadlines. One of the grants has an annual funding cycle and the other is every five years or so. I'm trying to talk with the program officer of the second to determine if I have a snowball's chance in hell. I also have two projects from my postdoc that are only 50% done; one will not have my adviser's name on it. Should I set those projects aside and try to come up with better preliminary data for one or both of these grants, or is it more important to add pubs to my CV now so that I'm more credible in the winter and spring?

    This advice is invaluable. Thank you.

  • whatnow says:

    Also, for perspective, I have one glamour pub from last year and a mid-tier pub from this year, and aside from an upcoming invited review, nothing else submitted or in serious prep yet.

  • Neuropop says:

    @whatnow: As the wiser heads stated, "do all of the above".

    This may sound trite, but your startup is like a stock portfolio. Some money in guaranteed returns, low risk and safe, some in long-shot, high risk stocks. These apply to projects as well. But do not hesitate to abandon a project or shelve it if it drags. Part of success is knowing when you have enough, too much or nothing at all.

    As a junior person the most important thing is to choose your personnel wisely. If you can manage multiple people, give some thought to assigning them to low-risk, quick outcome projects as opposed to high-risk, high-payoff ones. Assess their creativity, ambition and drive. Don't take the first person that walks through the door because an unmotivated malcontent can kill the lab.

    As far as grants go, apply early and often. Attend as many grantsmithing/funding opportunity shindigs at your institution as time allows. You need to build up a network of people who are willing to read your grants, if only to iron out the obvious and highly avoidable mistakes people make (numbered references, too small a font, readability, clarity....). These shindigs are a good place to establish one. Find small mechanisms that are internal, state-wide or restricted to your institution. These are short proposals and can have a slightly higher success rate.

    And publish something, anything in any journal ASAP. It looks really good to a review panel or a study section. If you have a technique that can be useful to someone else in your institution, shamelessly promote it. You might get a publication in short order, establish yourself as a good colleague and collaborator and build equity within your institution. That goes a long way towards tenure.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Whatnow -- Please ignore Ola's advice. It is really bad. Also, the notion of bouncing ideas off an undergrad seems ridiculous. There is no way an undergrad will have any perspective.

    The most important thing to recognize is that all of your data-generation and paper-writing efforts need to be strategically focused: How will this paper fit into the prelim studies section of my potential grant applications? How do these data tell a story leading to the next set of experiments I will propose in those applications?

  • drugmonkey says:

    One of the grants has an annual funding cycle and the other is every five years or so. I'm trying to talk with the program officer of the second to determine if I have a snowball's chance in hell.

    You'll want to try to find investigators who have experience with these mechanisms/sources (as applicants and reviewers, ideally) and if available, review their database of funded grants. This will tell you much about what is possible.

    Coming back to your original point about local mentoring.... I know it is scary to show weakness. And some departments really *are* cutthroat like this and will look down on you. But look, you are a noob. No getting around it. people may be more sympathetic than you assume.

    Approach your career like a research problem in a new area- you have to do the background reading and talk to colleagues that are doing those techniques, right?

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    Did I miss the part where someone stipulated that producing data for a paper and preliminary data for grants are not and should not be mutually exclusive activities?

    Always be writing something....it's worked for me (so far).

  • The Other Dave says:

    Neuro-conservative: I thought Ola's advice was pretty good.

    A couple comments on things Ola said:

    (iii) Don't forget to do the other things that will be required for you to get tenure in 5-7 years' time. Take on some teaching, sit on some university committees, get involved with the grad student recruitment process (a great way to get students into your lab).

    If you have a choice, only teach early in the first year grad curriculum, so you can meet and attract the best new grad students.

    Do not sit on any committees if at all possible. Just. Don't. You do not want to be around people who like committees.

    Get involved with the grad student recruiting process only because, as Ola says, if played right, it can help you attract the best students to your lab.

    Note that more students and people in your lab is more responsibility. You will soon learn (if you haven't already), that being a good PI means that you are now everyone's assistant and editor and mentor and... Never take on someone who will create more work for you than they will save (at least eventually).

    (iv) Develop a lab "brand", and that includes setting up a lab website, getting a twitter account, a blog, and other social media outlets. This will help distinguish you from the older folks in your department and elsewhere.

    Order and study this book: 'Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times' by Mark Kuchner. It was the single best pile of advice for advancing my career that I ever read.

    From NC: The most important thing to recognize is that all of your data-generation and paper-writing efforts need to be strategically focused: How will this paper fit into the prelim studies section of my potential grant applications? How do these data tell a story leading to the next set of experiments I will propose in those applications?

    Do not obsess. Do not overthink. Publish. Get out a couple little things that show that you can be productive. Work on a blockbuster high-profile thing that will put you on the map. Both are important.

  • Dave says:

    Also, for perspective, I have one glamour pub from last year and a mid-tier pub from this year, and aside from an upcoming invited review, nothing else submitted or in serious prep yet.

    Doesn't sound like poor prior productivity to me. These are post-doc pubs, presumably?

  • whatnow says:

    @Dave, yes, those are postdoc pubs. I still have nothing ready to go and negligible prelim data.

    @Lizzy, I wish my current projects at 50% completion could be used as prelim data, but they can't. They're in different areas from my two major grant directions; both I committed to doing a while ago, and even though one doesn't involve my postdoc adviser, it's still not so relevant to what I want to do next. So I have to decide between getting those manuscripts out sooner (with one looking like it came from me as PI) or focusing on prelim data for summer grants. I write pretty quickly... my problem is usually uneven persistence in tweaking and refining methods as they get in various states of stuck.

    It sounds like I need to hire a tech or postdoc.

    My other commitments (mentoring, teaching, service) are light and appear to be on track.

  • AK says:

    @whatnow I would also suggest getting a feel for what your department requires for tenure. Sometimes there are specific expectations and it may help you decide where to put your focus.

    Additionally, how do you (or your field of study) fit into the department as a whole? Is your research easily understood by the rest of the department? Is the expected productivity in your field the same as that of the rest of the department? I say this because in large and diverse departments this can become an issue. For instance, ecologists have a much higher number of paper requirements than the cell biology types. If the department is dominated by one of these groups then you have to at least work hard to convince them that your productivity is in line with others in your field.

  • whatnow says:

    @AK: I need more papers than I have, undoubtedly. My department has high expectations for both scientific contributions and funding, although it's not a soft-money position. I'm just not sure if it's worth applying now when I have no track record for my lab (just an arguably mediocre postdoc one) and minimal preliminary data, though I could potentially scrounge some up if I drop all other commitments for the next few months. There's a big immediate tradeoff for me in terms of publishing and grantwriting.

  • Dave says:

    I'm just not sure if it's worth applying now when I have no track record for my lab (just an arguably mediocre postdoc one)

    I think you're being hard on yourself here. Sounds like you were nicely productive if you got a CNS and a mid-tier pub out the door. Are these literally the only papers you have? All first author? Any other co-author pubs?

    You need independent preliminary data ASAP for sure, but I wouldn't wait for a publication before applying for a grant. No way. That could take a while if you have nothing in hand right now. Just get some "proof of principle" or feasibility data as a minimum and throw a grant in. Nothing to lose and the feedback will be important in determining your next move.

  • zb says:

    "I'm just not sure if it's worth applying now when I have no track record for my lab (just an arguably mediocre postdoc one)"

    Do not, under any circumstances, wait for something to happen in the future to apply for grants. You need to move ahead with the best of what you have at any moment. You have to start getting people to help you (yes, hired folks, including a post-doc) but also anyone else who will help you. You must do everything, as others have pointed out. That means 1) you need other people to be working on what parts of it they might be able to do, like the post-doc, generating data and 2) you need other people to interact with so that you don't find yourself staring at a computer screen writing, with no one but you caring about what happens.

    Regarding interacting with folks in your department -- no, you don't want to go to them saying, that you're scared and don't know what to do and you're not productive. Go to them saying you have a fabulous idea for a grant, and that you want to get their feedback on it. If they agree (and hopefully someone will; it's part of their responsibility to someone they've hired), then if you succeed, they'll feel your success is something they have a stake in. Do the same with others in your field (older mentors). If you're a woman, try to find women in you're field who are the kind who feel that mentoring younger women is part of their responsibility. Find someone who is not a direct competitor, but at the same level as you i a related field and try to trade expertise (as well as deadlines) with them.

    You're worried about appearing vulnerable if you ask for assistance, but, what you're asking for is investment, investment you pay back in the form of your own success for your department, collaboration with colleagues, a stake in your work for other scientists, . . . .

    And, yes, activities that put you in touch with good graduate students are good.

    At a standard level place (hard money, reasonable expectations), the labs I've seen take off are the ones who had a decent person working in them (in addition to the PI) early on. That has been true for theory labs, too, not just bench labs. These days, in science, you need to have someone working with you towards a common goal early on.

  • whatnow says:

    @Dave: Those are my only first-author publications from my 3.5-year postdoc. I have some middle-author ones from my postdoc and other pubs from my PhD, mostly published a few years ago.

    @zb: It makes increasingly overwhelming sense that I need to have good people working with me from as early as possible, and I need to be establishing positive connections (of different flavors). I am finding it hard to establish collaborations with a few people who are more senior and seem quite busy (but who have really great data and ideas they aren't exploiting fully!), but I might have an easier time analyzing tactics offline.

    I'm going to figure out some minimum preliminary plots, apply for these grants, figure out exactly which data/models to investigate in the first year, and then find some good people to help me do it.

    Thanks again.

  • Dave says:

    Those are my only first-author publications from my 3.5-year postdoc. I have some middle-author ones from my postdoc and other pubs from my PhD, mostly published a few years ago.

    Well, from what you have said, I don't see any reason for you to be concerned about your past productivity, especially if you have a C/N/S paper from a 3.5 year postdoc in the bag already. If you got a TT position after such a short post-doc, you must be doing something right. I would throw in a grant application immediately if I were you.

    What field are you in?

  • Dave says:

    ...I'm not in a bench field

    Ah, that's what I was looking for.

  • professa says:

    @whatnow:
    You mentioned having an undergrad in the lab. I was very cautious about taking students into the lab early on (started my lab in 2006). Students are a time suck. Even grad students take at least a year or two to be productive. I had better luck with techs/postdocs starting out, then went for students once things were moving. Of course, this also depends on the quality of potential hires at your institution. At some places the undergrads might be better than the grad students. (I've heard that about Harvard, but no personal experience.)

    Also, I haven't heard anyone mention junior faculty grants. I'm not sure of your field, but there are many of these grants specifically designed for startup faculty. NIH has the K01/K08/K99 system, but many foundations have these as well (e.g., AHA, ACS, Pew, etc). You should take advantage of these while you are still eligible. They can really stretch your start-up dollars!

  • yikes says:

    3 lessons I think have learned, albeit imperfectly.

    1) Learn how to write a compelling grant. I've heard one learns a lot from sitting on study sections. I don't know yet, but it sounds right. I have even learned a tremendous amount by grading the mock proposals written by grad students, in a core curriculum small group. They are almost all about fields I don't know, but it is surprisingly easy to tell the compelling 'stories' from the jargon-filled, poorly controlled, insignificant drivel. Also, your grants will probably get better and better as you write more of them. It is a learned skill. Feedback helps, but even repetition without feedback is surprisingly helpful.

    2) Don't spend 5-7 years crafting a perfect R01. Make a bunch of (necessarily imperfect) R01's.

    3) Make sure you are have complete awareness of your budget at all times - current and projected.

  • whatnow says:

    @professa: Thanks. The undergrads at my institution are extremely sharp, but I need to think more carefully about the time to return. I have applied for one NIH mechanism for new investigators that didn't require preliminary data. The others do, so I have to hold off on applying for them. Need to search foundation grants more carefully.

    @yikes: (1) I realize I need to build in more time for informal peer-review for my grants. (2) and (3) -- good reminders!

  • The Other Dave says:

    I have applied for one NIH mechanism for new investigators that didn't require preliminary data.

    There is no such thing. They might say there is, but there isn't.

  • whatnow says:

    Yeah, "no preliminary data" was in the official description. The reviewers didn't ding me for anything along those lines (i.e., no concerns about my ability to pull off the work), but maybe they wanted it anyway.

  • Eli Rabett says:

    Not yet mentioned, go to conferences and talk to people. You can showcase some of your published work or if you are not worried about being gazumphed some of the 50%.

    At least in the NASA/NSF/DOD game you want to talk with the program managers with the excuse that you are new and want to understand their program, but really to build a relationship. DOD at least will warn you off things that they will never fund.

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