Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Gray Area

One of my NSF proposals seems to be lingering in The Gray Area, that no-news-is-good-news place and time when not hearing about the proposal by this point means the proposal wasn't outright rejected and it might be funded (or not). After this summer I will still have 2 active NSF grants, so if this proposal isn't funded, my research program will still be fine. Even so, it would be very great if a new student and I could start on this project this summer or fall. I want to do all the projects that make it into proposals I submit, but some are more thrilling to contemplate than others, and this is one of the thrilling ones. It's the first submission for this particular project, so I know it is quite possible that it won't be funded this time.

I am trying not to think about it too much, but at least once a day someone asks me "Have you heard about that proposal?", and when I say no, everyone always says "You must be in The Gray Area." Yes, that is clearly where my proposal and I are right now.

20 comments:

The Rock Doctor said...

The "Gray Area" you talk about is better than the one I've experienced recently following interviews for tenure-track faculty positions. I finally got tired of waiting and emailed them and found out what I expected: I wasn't the candidate that decided to hire. For you, silence isn't necessarily bad. For me, it meant rejection.

I don't think you'll go hungry if you don't get the grant. I'm a post-doc whose contract will end soon, without a faculty position or another post-doc lined up. Fortunately, I was able to find a position in the oil/petroleum industry, so the family of four that I support wouldn't become homeless. If it wasn't for the industry job, we'd be in big trouble.

Kate said...

Ugh! I'm in the Gray Area for a grant right now too. And it's for something I'm also totally thrilled about, but is a new project and one I had little expectation would be funded this time around.

We'll have to cross our fingers for each other...

Crabby McSlacker said...

Good thing you're just in the "Gray Area" and not the "Gray's Anatomy Area,"-- otherwise you'd have to spend all your time sleeping with your coworkers and whining about it, which could really interfere with ongoing research.

C ain't Crazy he just Creative said...

wow! this is really interesting stuff.......

generic i kno. but none the less true.

i prefer things in blackandwhite.

http://lovingblackandwhite.blogspot.com/

MLC said...

The best and worst thing about the internet is that everyone can write and post whatever they like.

If reading and writing was a stock, we could all be rich.

I'm an MBA student, enjoying classes but not loving it. How did I end up in business? I love math and science. Rebellion in kids is not a good thing. My dad preached math and science to me all the time. I wanted to explore. I didn't want to be limited. Hear I am at 33 and realize that he was right. I took almost 2 years of science classes and worked in a compounding pharmacy. I loved every minute of it. If I could afford not to work, I would be studying science and probably going really far because I have such a passion for it. But alas, money is not plentiful and I'm not the risk taking type. I'm committed to my husband.

parameddan said...

Interesting blog you have. My wife is a graduate student in one of the physical sciences and aspires to become a professor much like yourself. I will have to forward to link to her. Keep up the good work and good luck on your grant.

Anonymous said...

And here I am procrastinating on refereeing NSF grants by reading your blog. Hopefully its not one of yours.

nonk9 said...

I directed the Decision, Risk and Management Sciences Program at the national science foundation from August 2001 to June, 2003. I doled out a total of about $10 million in pork for profs. What a scam.

Professors who typically earn way above the median in their communities come crawling to uncle sam, acting like paupers.

Sam! I ain't got no work this summer! Hay-elp me, puh-leeze!

So if a prof makes 80K/year, s/he can ask for 2/9 as summer salary.

I see your mouth is firmly attached to Uncle Sam's teat! You go, girl!

Alison said...

I am not sure which is worse, gray areas or black. With gray there is still a glimmer of light...black is well, final!

sarah mac said...

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We are an online news service that is written exclusively by women and we're currently seeking women scientists to provide expert voices on the issues that are usually dominated by men in the field. We are not affiliated with any political group, ideology or religion. We are simply news about the world, by women, for everyone.

if this sounds interesting to you, please email me...

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Anonymous said...

Nonk9 -- It is nice to see that you are not at all bitter about being denied tenure and forced out of the academy.

Anonymous said...

How bizarre -- a professor at a research university writing proposals to support research and, presumably, students and postdocs. Of course we should all work for free in the summers since there are people poorer than we are. I'm sure nonk9 declined her NSF salary out of sympathy with the poor.

A possible topic for a future blog-post might be what to do if the director of an NSF program is insane and hostile. Just a thought.

Gurpreet said...

interesting and nice one keep it up

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Doug Natelson said...

nonk9 - not to threadjack, but if you think that federally sponsored research is a scam, why on earth did you go to work as a program officer?

Female Science Professor said...

Doug - feel free to threadjack, especially on this particular issue!

Entropysounds said...

Also threadjacking nonk9. I call BS on that post for sure! America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.

Mr. B. said...

FSP,

Congratulations on your forbearance in not simply trashing nonk9's comments.

Mr. B. has been tempted, on numerous occasions, to do a smackdown but there really is no way you can win - other than allowing this dreck to be posted.

Ciao,

Bonzo

Jessica said...

I have also seen that too with our faculty. Makes it kind of hard to fund prospective students too because you really want to count on that money but you just aren't 100% sure it's going to come through no matter how good the proposal. And if we admit the students on the hope that they will be grant-funded and the grant doesn't come through, it has to come out of state dollars. And as you know state dollars are so hard to come by anymore. There was one year or two we had most of our grad assistants on grant funding, and then that dried up and back to state funds it was...

Good luck getting your grant, they make such a difference!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the notorious nonk9.

From doling out grain at the public trough to doling out inanities and insults for free on public blogspots.

A Coyote Mind is a terrible thing to waste. N'est-ce pas?