Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Never complete. But... I finished the long description part of a new grant proposa1, for one of the academic oriented federal agencies. It's fifteen pages to the bottom at 10 pt font (the specified limits). It's also going to be the basis for my first patent application, just as soon as I decide on a patent attorney. This is all very exciting.

I still have a whole boat load of hoops to jump through to get this new proposal submitted before the deadline next week. I'm planning to get it all done before the weekend, to avoid the crush that will then ensue.

Also spent quite a bit of time the past couple days talking to people and trying to figure out what's required of me for the continuing contract I wrote about a couple days ago. If only it were simple! It's quite an effort just to figure out the chain of command, and whom I need to deal with for what aspect.

Word is pretty clear that we're at the stage where everyone expects the contract to be issued and the money to flow... BUT... nothing is settled until it's settled, and nothing more definitive than such expectation will come until such time as the contract is either in place (or somehow dissipates). And... although the money is in place somewhere (else they wouldn't be able to issue the invitation), there's no telling just when that somewhere will be my firm's bank account, meaning, as I was told today "expect another gap in funding. It's almost assured".

So three months of nothing to now... once I get the draft in and approved, I should get another six of funding on the old contract (though the first check won't come in for three months). Then, who knows? It's kind of hard for me to get those new hires in place when I can't say definitively when (or even IF) I'll be able to bring them on board. I'm hoping to fly in one of my old colleagues (who just filed his dissertation), to talk about the possibilities of bringing him in for a one-year post-doc with a possibility to renew. It'll be hard to follow through though unless or until I know the funds are on the way.

The deadline for my first draft is rather short... um... like the end of next week! (They make me wait three months, then tell me I have two weeks). However, at least one of the parties I spoke with indicated that I could follow one of two formats at this point: a 4-5 page statement of work, or a 30-40 page document of torture. I think... yeah... I'm leaning toward the SOW. Yeah, I'll do that one.

So, if it's only 4-5 pages (and remember this quick deadline is only for a "draft") I'm sure I can pull something together, along with a draft proposed budget, and whatever else they'd like to see. Then, it looks like I'll have two more weeks to gain guidance from the authorizing parties (you know about what work they want me to do), then the chance to modify the draft into a final. Part of the problem is that they're not available to speak with me until next week sometime, and there's little chance of setting up the (REQUIRED!) pre-proposal meeting in time for the first deadline.

Kind of silly if you ask me. What's the point of requiring a draft, when everyone knows it'll have to be completely reworked? It's like preparing a keynote for a conference, when you know the field, but not the topic. Ah well. See, this is the kind of complaining that makes me feel ungrateful. Imagine me, a couple years ago, wallowing in misery over yet another rejection letter (okay... now I've applied for 138 faculty positions...) It's hard to put my present bothers in that light. It's the difference between the wind tickling the hairs on my arm, and being stung by a whole nest of wasps.

You know... yeah... I'm leaning toward the breezy hair thing, okay?


Lilian said...

So, I knew they were upwards of 90, but, did you really send out 138 applications? I won't do that, I'll stop on the, I don't know, 20th? (because there are only 3-5 openings in my area each year, at most).

I hope everything comes out just fine in the end. And no wonder you're only blogging again now -- not too much happening for 3 months and them, BAM! all at once you have all this to do!

ArticulateDad said...

Well, actually, Lilian, it was more like 150 by the time I quit applying! Bear in mind, I received my first rejection letter while I was overseas on a Fulbright, the December before I wrote my dissertation. So, beginning with the season before the dissertation year, I spent nearly 5 years applying. That's about 30 a year. Considering the season lasts about 8 months, that's what -- about 2 a week. A lot of sweat and soul went into each of those applications.

I can safely say, writing grant proposals to support my research, to further human knowledge and understanding, to find practical applications for these efforts is so much more rewarding. It took me five years to realize that I hadn't gone to graduate school to become a perpetual job seeker. That's not really my forte. I do other things better.

Finally, I've got some validation for that. You'll find your breakthrough. I'm sure of it.