I’m not insane. My mother had me tested.

The recent conversation at DrugMonkey’s place about responding to previous grant reviews has proved very timely; I’m currently working on the first grant resubmission for which I’ve been chief wrangler. There have been some unbloggably hilarious emails pinging around between the various PIs, including much discussion about country- and funding agency-specific conventions regarding the tone of such responses (a PI who trained overseas feels that Canadians are far too polite and passive in the face of bad reviews, and may well be correct).

The chief impact on me, however, has been the recurring dreams about responding to reviews. In last night’s edition, the grant was in the format of a Big Bang Theory script, and I was rewriting it to take into account a reviewer’s comment that Sheldon’s lines weren’t funny enough.

This is rather appropriate, in fact, since we’re effectively knocking at a door while saying “Penny? Dollars? Penny? Dollars? Penny? Dollars?”

Someone really should scan my brain during a grant deadline week. I’m sure it would prove most illuminating.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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14 Responses to I’m not insane. My mother had me tested.

  1. ricardipus says:

    I *still* get that dream about realizing it’s near the end of term, I haven’t been to any lectures, haven’t read the textbook, it’s too late to drop the course and I’m going to get zero. And I need it to graduate.

    Nothing to do with grants, but the traumatic events that cause it are kind of similar.

  2. I’ve never had that specific version, but I do occasionally get the “sitting in an exam hall and can’t find / understand / answer the questions” one from time to time…

    Isn’t it fun being a grown-up?!

  3. Mermaid says:

    I watched Big Bang Theory last night and couldn’t stop wondering how you would rewrite the script. Added an additional level of amusement to my evening. Thanks!

    “a PI who trained overseas feels that Canadians are far too polite and passive in the face of bad reviews, and may well be correct” <– I wonder if the response should be tapered to the competition? So for a Canadian grant, polite would work. For an American grant, maybe more blunt would be OK? Hmmmmm.

  4. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    These are the subtleties that aren’t mentioned in the published grant competition guidelines! You really need PIs who’ve reviewed for each agency to guide that kind of thing (or, y’know, just read more blogs…)

  5. Steve Caplan says:

    Ahhh, but grants can MAKE YOU INSANE. So if your mother had you tested years ago, things may have changed…

  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:


  7. Steve Caplan says:

    Good Lord–Bible is spelled B-I-B-L-E. If you can’t get that right, what’s the grant submission going to look like?

  8. Well, the grants may be less poetic than parts of the blibble bible*, but they include more supporting evidence.

    *although that depends on which PI wrote which sections and how much wine was involved

  9. Steve Caplan says:

    Hey, Bible is now popular in science. Did you ever read a paper published in (yes, really!) the journal “Genesis?” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/%28ISSN%291526-968X

  10. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    No, I haven’t! Although I was just enjoying the journal name “Modern Pathology” earlier this morning. I think I’d like to start one called “Completely Outdated Pathology” to compete with it.

  11. I think my weirdest dream was a half-waking one during a particularly stressful project. My two-month-old kitten was explaining basic principles to me since apparently I’d forgotten them…

  12. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Hi, welcome to the blog! I love your handle (and your spout) 🙂

    That dream sounds adorable! Mine are usually more confusing than cute. Last night, for example, I spent most of the night dreaming that I was in fact lying awake unable to sleep (I know it was a dream because at one point I woke up from dreaming I was lying awake unable to sleep, realised I’d been dreaming, and then couldn’t get back to sleep).

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