I have a marvelous former student (master's) from about 20 years ago. Former student (FS) at a mostly-teaching place and trying to get a proposal in and get research going. There have been lots of bumps on the road, but FS is good-humored and takes them in stride, or at least in flying form. FS isn't well liked by everyone in my lab, for all sorts of reasons, but I am in a place where I can take a slightly larger view of things. All I'm saying here, is things are not quite simple.
This proposal is to do something that will be in my lab, which is fine with me, and acceptable to the current lab folks.. I am helping with the proposal, which has had problems, and is a resubmission. In fact, I was surprised it got the relatively good reviews it did on the first go-round (not triaged! scored!). For this version, I suggested adding a third person (TP), as a consultant who is working with the animal model (different from my standard, in some significant ways) that is integral to this project. I know TP to be Good People. I thought.
FS copied me on a string of emails to and from TP discussing the project and asking TP about being a consultant. I noticed something that FS did not. (This would be their first NIH grant). Third Person is asking for a subcontract to do something that is essentially minor consulting. Yipes! And a fair chunk of salary. In fact, it wasn't so much asking, as assuming, and sending instructions.
TP's view might be defensible, but I think it has crossed a line. So. Some more details. Despite having just got tenure, and thus technically a "senior" faculty, FS teaches 12 months a year, about 4-5 courses a term, and really can only do research if funded. That FS is in this position is clearly a function of choices made along the way. FS has two small kids, a working spouse, and all the complexities of life that go with that. Yet, FS published a first authored paper as a UG, and got two first -auth and two mid-auth papers doing a masters. I think there is potential. Hence, my support, and help and etc.
The proposal is an R15, a wonderful mechanism, IMO for folks at primarily UG institutions, the determination of which is based on total Institutional funding. R15's however, are limited to a total of 300K and 3 years. You can go non-modular, by asking for only 2 years per year, or one really big year and 1-2 very small ones. But, if your costs are fairly consistent, and consist of sufficient salary for a term off, or enough course reduction to have time to do the work, money for ug's to do research and the actual costs of doing research, there really isn't room for much else, let alone 10-20% of a consultant (med school prof) salary.
Now, to make things more complicated, TP is up for tenure this year (I know TP from meetings). TP is good, published, and I think tenure is a no-brainer. But of course, we all know no-brainers that don't go the way we thought they would. I don't think this proposal would happen in time to make a difference for that decision. But again, we all know problems that started at "we didn't think...".
I let this post sit for a bit, and now am trying to be more generous. I am hoping TP just thought it was an R01 and there would be plenty of money and space. I am hoping that this all is a misunderstanding on everyone's part. It's hard to ask for something, no matter who you are. Maybe that is my problem: that I want to think everyone is a good guy and no one is out to screw anyone else. And you know, that's not such a bad attitude to have.
[Note: there are some gender and URM issues here. But I wanted to stick to the main issue about funding and support and asking to be on someone else's grant. It gets even more complicated when you consider those things. I struggle with these things when they are real. In theory, I have no problems. Its just real life that's such a pain in the ass].