We interrupt our regularly scheduled post to exult in what I hope is only a mildly obnoxious way about a new grant.
It's not as if I have grants raining from the sky all the time, but, in the course of my career, I have been fortunate to have had pretty good success/luck getting grants. So, although I certainly would never say that getting grants is routine for me, it's not a rare occurrence.
So this is what I was asked myself: After 15-20 years of getting grants, is it still exciting to get a new one or is it more like "OK, cool, here's another chunk of money to spend for a few more years"? Maybe it's the latter for people who have mega-labs with an endless stream of grants rolling in, but for me:
IT IS STILL VERY THRILLING.
IT IS DEFINITELY STILL VERY THRILLING.
In fact, when I get the good news about a new grant, I am always reminded of how exciting it was to get my first big grant many many years ago. Of course, the first big grant as an assistant professor came with an element of relief (as in, 'maybe I will actually get tenure' relief), but, even at mid-career, there is still a very similar feeling (as in, 'maybe I can actually support all these grad students and postdocs for a few more years' relief).
But the feeling is much more than just relief. There is also the satisfaction of the effort of proposal-writing coming to a successful result (against the odds). But mostly it's the thrill of being able to do extremely interesting research with an extremely excellent research team.
Then I asked myself: Does the magnitude of the thrill scale with the $ amount of the grant? That is, is it just as exciting to get a $40,000 exploratory grant as it is to get a $4,000,000 mega-grant? Yes.. but not quite as thrilling. I must confess: Really big grants are really thrilling.
6 months ago