We're a little crazy, about science!

First grant meeting

Time to put the fun in funding?

Well it’s been a weird couple of days and by weird I mean, WTF?! For that reason let’s shift slightly back into the school aspect of things. I had my first meeting with my Co-PI to discuss the grant writing I’m going to be doing and what we want to focus on. Turns out there’s a lot going on and not all of it had to do with the grant, but it was a good meeting and I’m excited to get started.

I previously mentioned that my Co-PI had floated the idea of writing another grant for funding a R21 this time (here). We agreed to meet today to discuss what it was going to look like and how to write one. I’ve only ever taken a stab at writing one other grant in the past, so it was nice to get some input from him on what to do. I will be getting an example grant that he’s written to help work from, so that should prove to be very useful since NIH can be particular about wording and such.

This one will be shorter than the last one I wrote, the last one was 31 pages (not a typo!). This one is 7 pages, but there are about 30 forms that go with it (frankly the same applied to the other grant), so it’s still going to be some work. We also want to have some example data so it’s back to the lab again to do some more tests and record some new data! It’s not totally needed, but it should help us button up some of the bigger questions we have about the technique I’m proposing.

We also finally got our latest addition to the lab! A new postdoc should be officially starting at the end of the month or the beginning of next month. I’ve been asked to show him how we do things and to experiment on him. It’s a right of passage, I’ve had several experiments done to me (including this MRI one!). That’s the thing about working in a non-invasive research lab, you get experimented on… a lot. It’s not just his lab either, we do it in the school lab as well. I’m pretty sure it’s a universal thing.

As usual I can’t really get into the details of things, but we plan to meet again sometime next week with my main-PI to go over the first grant I wrote and propose this second one to him directly. As I suspected this will be primarily from my Co-PI’s lab, which will give us a faster turn around on experiments and we will be doing a more “clinical” research approach. I’ll still be doing things in conjunction with my lab, but the data are going to be collected with emphasis on my Co-PI’s goals and my main-PI’s goals will be secondary.

I prefer this route to be honest, it will make for a “cleaner” experiment and I’ll still be able to use the experimental data for progress on my PhD. Essentially it’s a win/win for everyone and it will give me more freedom to do the research I’m more interested in doing. The big issues that lay ahead are the meeting with my main-PI and getting his approval of course, but also actually being awarded either of the grants. I’ll still have my application for NDSEG in the wings, which could hopefully lead to funding as well, but the grants would give more money for equipment, whereas NDSEG is more for schooling expenses.

Not that I need extra equipment, but it would be nice to have once the pandemic is under control… eventually… right? Because my main-PI’s lab should be able to start doing experiments again and if that’s the case the equipment I have would need to be returned and I would need to check it out in advance of other experiments. That wouldn’t be a huge deal if the drive between the school and the hospital wasn’t like 30-45 minutes one way. Sure it could be worse, but I hate having to drive everywhere and waste (or in general use) gas.

Bottom line is a lot of things are going to be happening all at once and AHHHHHHH. I’m hopeful that it will all work out, but as usual only time will tell. Now time to start the next grant writing project…

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