Debbie Knight

A day in the life: October 5, 2011

In research log on October 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

From time to time, I will give a glimpse into the “glamorous” life of a research associate and talk about what I’m doing in the lab on a particular day. These entries I will call “A Day in the Life…”

My boss is working on an NIH grant proposal which is due Monday, October 17.

Plenty of time, right?

I’ve worked with three principle investigators and the story is the same – there’s always a rush to get the proposal submitted at the last minute.

You’d think we’d learn, but somehow the time gets away from us as we write and gather all the bits and pieces we need, load them into the right places on the form, and send it off by the submission deadline.

Before the electronic submission process, there were many late nights spent copying, collating, and rushing the three-inch (or more) pile of papers to FedEx at the last possible moment so it would get to the NIH on time.

Frankly, I do not miss those days!

I remember having to walk a piece of paper around for the various departmental and college administrators to sign. Now, the form just floats from one administrator to another in the digital ether – with the push of a button, each will “sign” the form electronically and pass it down the line.

I remember standing at the copier, making sure it didn’t jam as we made several copies of the proposal and all its supplemental materials. Many of those copies required additional labelling before they were completed.

I remember taping data figures into the spaces we left in the proposal.

I remember making a special trip to Kinko’s to get color copies of those pages made so that they would be included in the grant proposal. Of course, this pre-dated the office color laser printers that we would eventually use. And, of course, electronic submissions make the printing unnecessary.

Yes, I like this electronic grant proposal submission process. It certainly makes life easier. But it hasn’t eliminated the stress of submitting a proposal.  Yet.


UPDATE (October 17, 2011)

The grant proposal was officially submitted (electronically) to the NIH this morning. It seemed too easy without the last-minute copier / collating rush.

 I feel pretty good about this grant, though, in my experience, NIH grant proposals are rarely funded on the first try.  But I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed all the same!


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