In honor of Passover: Repost (with some edits)

Apr 26 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

Triaged Grants (and a Passover Lesson)

I have tried to do my part through a bunch of grantsmanship posts. There is lots of other Good Stuff on the web. But there is also lots of help around you. There are people who will read your grant, and critique it. One of our young turks persuaded our research office to spend some money to get a “professional” critique of her proposal (ie paying a sympathetic big dog to do a review). Its not hard to organize a “grant club”. Read someone’s SA’s each week, and then have a discussion about them. Nearly every university, especially med schools in MRU, has seminars on how to write a grant. I’ve run several for my T32 and opened it up to anyone who was interested. Except lots of people had excuses on why not.

Anyone can learn the grant game.

The biggest issue, in my years of mentoring is that younger faculty don’t know that they need to learn. Or they are too arrogant to think there is anything they can learn. You could take the four children at Passover (wise, wicked, simple and the one who does not know to ask) and apply this lesson to members of the faculty, not just junior, not just young, but the middle-aged tired folks, and the greybeards, too. The four children each ask a question, my edit to apply to grant writing (leaving aside religious implications, belief in a particular deity, and no offense meant to Jewish People):

  1. The wise child asks: “What is the meaning of … the rules and guidelines, written and unwritten, the things we should do to get funded?”
  2. The wicked or selfish child asks: “These guidelines are fine for you, but they don’t apply to me”.
  3. The simple child asks: “What should I do?”
  4. This final child is incapable of asking a question.

The standard answers to the questions are also instructive:

  1. To the wise child: We should instruct this child in all the laws and customs of Passover grant writing.
  2. To the wicked/selfish child:  It is obvious that this child does not want to be included in the celebration or the community, so we answer harshly, “We celebrate Passover offer help in writing grants because someone once helped us and we pay it forward of what the Eternal did for each of us. If you had been in Egypt, you would not have been thought worthy to be redeemed funded.” [note: this is possibly one of my favorite responses, simply because I would love to say this to various trainees. But you don’t have to. They won’t get funded.]
  3. We answer simply that “with a mighty hand the Eternal brought us forth from Egypt and from the house of bondage. Here is how you start….
  4. Because the fourth child doesn’t have the capacity to ask a question, we must explain that we observe Passover in order to remember what the Eternal did for us in delivering us from Egypt. writing a grant is a difficult process, and here is how it works.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply