Sunday, August 29, 2010

applying for funding

I had a great trip out to Berkeley. It was short, but I really got a good idea of the lab dynamics and think that my personality, and research interests, would fit in very well there.

The one teeny-tiny problem is that funding isn't guaranteed, so over the next few months I'll be writing several fellowship applications. Each needs to be tailored to the particular funding agency.

Yesterday I was reading through guidelines for the NSF postdoctoral fellowship in Biology, and then the directions for what kind of research the NIH BIO directorate funds. Nothing big, they just want to fund research that advances the,
"understanding of the underlying principles and mechanisms governing life." 
In contrast, the NIH supports research to,
"seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability."

Whew! And I was worried it would be something difficult like solving world hunger or eliminating poverty. All joking aside, I do think that the missions behind these agencies do need to be broad to encompass the wide variety of research topics, but still need to have enough specificity to limit the types of applications they receive.

Considering that the postdoctoral fellowships fund only 5-10% of the applications they receive, I need to be on top of my game. Hence why I've decided to dedicate at least an hour a day (more likely it'll be 2-3) to working on these applications until they're due (Between October 1 and early November 8). 

Wish me luck!

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