Hey, I didn’t even get the grant!

Scientists today spend a considerable chunk of their time writing: grants, protocols, manuscripts, reviews, grant reviews, etc. One of the bureaucratic requirements that most of us are familiar with is the “progress report.” Every year — or even after every six months of funding, we are obliged to send in a report detailing our progress in carrying out the aims of the grant proposal.

I think I am on fairly safe ground in claiming that although this can be time-consuming, most scientists don’t begrudge this task — they are too happy and relieved to have money for their research. However, I managed to lose my temper with such a request this week.

Into my email box came a rather stern note complaining that I had not met my deadline for submission of the annual progress report, and I was being given a final warning to submit. However, although I typically try to comply with all of my grant-related obligations, this time I unequivocally refused. No! I will not submit this report! Absolutely not! Enough bureaucracy! No! 

Yes, dear reader, I refused. I decided that I would not comply. ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

And why would I be such an adamant refusenik and troublemaker? Because the private foundation that was demanding I submit the report — read carefully, dear reader — this esteemed research foundation HAS NEVER FUNDED ME!

How my name became entangled in the web of grantees who were required to submit progress reports, I will never know. But what I do know is that every scientist has his limit — and this is where I draw a line in the sand: no funding, no progress reports! Go pick someone else’s email out of a hat…

About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery. "Saving One" is my most recent novel set at the National Institutes of Health. Now IN PRESS: Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure: The Case for Basic Biomedical Research (CRC PRESS, 2021). https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B006CSULBW? All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising.
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One Response to Hey, I didn’t even get the grant!

  1. Mark Field says:

    Just be certain that another agency who is funding you is not routing money through this other organization…

    It does, occasionally, happen (joint ventures where 2 different programs are tied under some umbrella initiative, government funding where the funds are routed through a different government organization because that is where the original funding line item is located, the list goes on)

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