Monday, March 23, 2009

Fixing it after the fact

The grant I had been working on prior to leaving for the week was due last Monday. As predicted, there were a bunch of issues in submitting the grant, but it went in well before the deadline. On Wednesday, I got the final copy of the grant from my Senior Colleague (SC), through whose university the grant was submitted and in whose hands I had left the final stages of grant prep. Essentially, I provided all of my documents, some of SC's documents (because I'm good like that) and about 95% of the text to SC with the understanding that SC would add in the final pieces of the puzzle (as per previous agreement) and get it in. What I got back surprised me. I opened the document to find the following "oversights":

1) SC used the project summary I had thrown together for my finance people to get the grant signed off on here, rather than the one that he had "almost done" on Friday. If i had know it was going to be used, I would have put more time into it.

2) There were several formatting issues, including some text I had highlighted in red for SC to recognize and deal with, still in red.

3) The spacing is totally fucked up in parts, making it look awkward. I know this isn't a huge deal, but I like to make the text look good in the end because it suggests that I care. When I review grants that look like they have been put together in a hurry or are sloppy, I notice. I don't like to be that guy.

4) The text ends halfway through the last page. Again, I know this is aesthetic, but I fix this stuff when I submit a grant. Now it looks like we didn't have enough to say to fill the space. I would have changed the spacing or enlarged figures to make the text "just" fit.

5) Most importantly, SC did not add my "pending support" form, nor the one I had almost entirely filled out for him in the format that wanted, but instead used a written out one that simply listed me as "new investigator". I have two other grants submitted, and now they are not listed at all. I think I'm going to have to call the PO about this one and see if I can get that fixed. Suggestions?

I keep telling myself that if the grant gets funded my lab will be fairly autonomous in the grant structure and I won't have to deal with some of SC's "issues", but I know that this is going to be a problem for a while. I think this project is important enough to deal with this, but I'm not looking forward to it. Now to look up the PO's number so I can see what to do about the pending support form.


  1. If this is NIH, then it isn't the Program Officer you need to talk to, it's the Scientific Review Officer.

  2. I think we should get SC and TP2 in a room together, lock the door and let them talk circles around each other until they die of exhaustion. How did these people ever get to their present positions carrying on like this?

  3. that is some fucked up shit. fingers crossed for you.

  4. I love the anal-retentive part of paper or grant or application formatting. The part where you said the text ends halfway through the page made my nose wrinkle up like somebody let one loose right at my desk.

  5. The funny (not haha) thing is that I am not normally a meticulous person at all. My desk right now looks like a paper recyling plant took a dump on it. However, when it comes to details like that in a grant I always make the effort to make it look good. I just feel like that is part of the whole package and I hate sending in something that looks rushed. I can stand being sloppy in my physical life, just not the written embodiment of it. The irony is that I can't spell for shit....