We're a little crazy, about science!

Grant writing!

writing spelled out in letter tiles

It’s time to help write another grant! In this case, it’s one I actually want. One of these days I’ll write a little tutorial on how I like to do my writing, I think it’s a good system, but then again what works for me may not work for you. This one is particularly complicated though so it needs a lot of attention. It’s not that it’s long, it’s because it’s short.

One page. I get one page to describe the entire project. I am a lot of things, but concise is not one of them, I mean look at my blog?! So I need to choose my words carefully to make sure each of them has the proper impact. It needs to be clear to anyone reading, logical, and explain in detail what I want to do and how I plan on doing it. The problem is, since everything I’m doing is new and interesting, that isn’t so easy.

I can’t say I’m applying a well established technique in a novel way. That wouldn’t be so hard. Instead I need to explain that I have a novel technique being applied in a novel way. It’s all very… novel. Yes, I used the word novel way more than I should’ve in those sentences, but that’s the point If I’m not careful my grant will read the same way.

Then again, I can find synonyms for the word novel no problem, but is that really the point I want to drive home? I mean, yes there is the newness (see used a different word!) of the technique, but there is a lot of opportunity with it so I need to strike the right balance of pointing out the fact that we are in uncharted waters and that there be dragons. Or in this case, the technique will help solve a lot of unanswered questions and will probably generate a ton of new questions we didn’t even know to ask.

There is of course another issue with all this. We’re not sure it works. I mean I’m like 96.4% confident that we have something. I feel like there’s just too much coincidence in what we’ve found for it to be noise. I have some new data that may help answer that (which I hope to finish with today! yay!!!), but even if we are 100% sure we still don’t know the limits of the technique, the boundaries of what it can and cannot do.

Bottom line, it feels weird asking for money (a whole lot of money) when I’m not sure that what I have is real or what I can do with it. It feels slightly (extremely) out of order. I guess the point of today’s post is that I’ve got a lot of writing to do and I’m not very comfortable with asking for money without knowing what I have is real.

But enough about us, what about you?

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