Sunday, 20 May 2012

What do Professors spend most of their time doing?

Yay I've managed to set up a poll.
My vote is for writing grants. I’m not sure people outside of academia realise just how much time is spent writing grants. Between 2010 and 2011, I’ve been involved in writing the following grants-
2 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grants (both funded)
9 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grants (1 funded)
3 National Institutes of Health (USA) Grants (2 funded)
2 US Department of Agriculture Grants (1 funded)
1 ARC Centre of Excellence Grant (0 funded)
3 ARC LIEF equipment Grants (2 funded)

 And it's not like these are short in length. For example, the ARC LIEF grant I wrote last year on Single Cell Genomics was 121 pages in length.

So what conclusions can we make from this catalogue of grant frenzy:
- I spend way too much time writing grants
- the ARC clearly love me, whereas I appear not to be very popular with the NHMRC.
- I’m averaging 10 grant applications a year, I seem to be on track for the same number this year (4 NHMRC and 2 ARC LIEF grants submitted this year)
- apparently we're not excellent, but we have had an ARC SuperScience proposal funded, so we must be super

Of course, since my staff seem to like getting paid, we don't really have much choice but a continuous frenzy of grant writing, unless I become independently wealthy or we find a rich benefector.
 I'm sure there will be subsequent blog posts on the grant system, but my colleague Nick Coleman probably summed up many scientists feelings about the grant system in this article in the Sydney Morning Herald

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