Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Herding cats

I'm in the midst of writing an equipment proposal for a bright shiny new toy that will be really, really useful. To a lot of the faculty here. Although I've never written this kind of proposal before I'm not finding the writing terribly difficult - I know enough about the instrument and what we'll do with it to wax lyrical. No, it's not the writing that's getting to me. It's extracting information from my fellow faculty. It's like herding cats.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Odyssey trying to corral fellow faculty.

All I need from each of them is a biosketch, list of current and pending funding, and a paragraph or two describing the research they would do with the instrument. Is that really so hard?

Apparently it is. To the point that I can now confidently state a new law...

Odyssey's law of equipment proposal writing:

The ability to obtain from a faculty member useful information required for an equipment proposal is inversely proportional to just how useful that piece of equipment would be to that person.

Anyone got a good bullwhip I can borrow?


tideliar said...

Ah... Something I have discovered since leaving the bench and entering administration. now I kind of understand why *all* staff look at *all* faculty like they're crazy/martians/crazy martians.


Comrade PhysioProf said...

Faculty tend to be pretty lax about providing verbiage for these kinds of grants for three main reasons. First, because the success rates are really low. Second, because the amount of actual benefit that any one investigator will get from the equipment is not very large. Third, other than the PI of the grant, none of them are gonna get "credit" if the grant gets funded.

Odyssey said...

True enough CPP. It is interesting though that the faculty who have the least to gain (in terms of usage) have turned out to be the ones who have put the most effort into providing what I need. I understand the lack of motivation when it comes to the verbiage, but the biosketch and funding data? Surely any PI worth the title has those ready to go.

And yes, tideliar, we're all crazy aliens (personally I'm from Pluto rather than Mars).

JollyRgr said...

I have a spare pair of steel toe capped boots that you could use!!!


Prof-like Substance said...