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Old 08-29-2008, 06:53 AM
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As most of you know, I'm an oceanographer. To fund my research I write proposals and submit them to various funding agencies (National Science Foundation, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research). The proposals are typically 15 pages of written text and figures - along with another 50 pages of boilerplate, budgets, etc. It usually takes me about 3 weeks to write a proposal, and I need to have 3-5 funded at any time to pay for all the people in my lab. Each proposal brings in about $150,000 per year. Surprisingly little of that comes directly to me...

Unfortunately, due to bad timing on my part, all my current grants ran out this year. So I spent the first 6 months of my sabbatical writing proposals. I just heard today that I got a proposal funded by California Sea Grant - this will pay for two of my students for 2 years. Yay!

So far this year I've had 3 proposals funded, and I'm hoping for one more. At most funding agencies the success rate of proposals in my field is about 20% or less: you need to write 5 proposals for every one that gets funded. I end up writing more proposals than I do scientific papers.

If you think this is wrong, you can do two things:
1) write to your congressman and tell them to instruct the funding agencies to fund all my proposals
2) send cash

I eagerly await the mail!
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Banner day!

Congrats Poto!!!

I know all about grant writing as I am married to a Science Writer for the University of British Columbia. She spent her life writing proposals for grants and also for medical journals.

She has taken a Leave of Absence to test the real estate market as a realtor. She is loving it so far and most likely won't be going back.

Good Luck with the grants and if you ever need a technical writer maybe she can help you out

Dan Clermont
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:23 PM
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Congratulations Peter!

Even though you're obviously very good at the process I know it's still a lot of hard work done on spec. The fact that you know most of it will not come to fruition must make it even harder to complete. Good on 'ya!

My wife is trying to make a film on Chinese kitemakers. Not being independently wealthy she has to raise money by writing grant proposals too. She's learned over the years (as I'm sure you have too) that there are trends or fashions in what is fundable. It can be very frustrating.


So, if I sign on with you I have to bring my own pay?

Last edited by MichaelKellough; 08-29-2008 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:58 PM
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Peter,

That is excellent news. Congratulations!

Darrin
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:51 PM
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Isn't it interesting to find out about the diversity of people's lives here on talkFestool? Dan - that's really cool about your wife being a grant writer at UBC. I almost went there for my master's. They used to have a superb oceanography program. Not any more, unfortunately. I'm glad that your wife's found fulfillment in real estate. Good thing she's not living down here, the way the market is right now.

Michael, please wish your wife well from me. The film subject sounds very cool - I'd definitely be interested in seeing it. I hope she can find support. I know I whine about writing proposals, but people in the arts and humanities have it far, far worse than I do. More work for less money.

No - if you came to work for me, I'd be responsible for finding your funding - writing proposals! Once you got up to speed, you'd help with the writing. Basically you'd earn your keep, like everyone else in the lab. A little science, a little paper writing, a little proposal writing. All in a day's work.

And thanks, Darrin. How goes the adoption?
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