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post #540 of (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 12:51 PM
MunkySpunk's Avatar
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I'm about to submit an NIH grant. A fancy phrase that simply means begging the gov for $$$ so I can put food on my table and samples on my lab bench. The guidelines are strict as hell... and I don't mean proper conduct of research guidelines, I mean page limits, fonts, margins, etc..etc.. All the stuff that the committee of scientists reading this thing DON'T care about.

These rules exist for one thing: To give the people who make these stupid rules a job. They are the ones who say 'You're using Arial 10... you have to make this Arial 11. You've got no white-space between these two section, you'll need a carriage return.' Now, mind you, if you don't follow these rules, your grant gets kicked back and you have to wait a new cycle to resubmit.

These people are paid out of the same pool of money my grant money comes out of. They are a bunch of fucking saprophytic philistines sucking up money that could otherwise go to research for curing cancer... but no, it goes to these guys so they can be picky about fucking fonts and fucking page limits. Their jobs exist only to give themselves jobs.

Anyway, I was about to hand this to my PI for proofing. I was in his office, checking to make sure he'd be here at the end of the day so I could give it to him. As I was on my way out, his secretary calls me over and breaks the news to me: The format requirements have changed... again. The NIH has been handing out this type of grant for years and year... why do they need to change anything anymore?

Now I've got to go back to my files, burn a hole in my virtual clipboard with all the copying and pasting, and cut a page and a half out of my grant. For anyone not in the know, this is no small feat. Grants are EXTREMELY dense - writing them in itself is an art form of concision, bluntness, and strategic use of the delete button. Grants are already seriously constrained by page limits to allow the board to review as many as possible. We already leave out white space between paragraphs and type it out single-spaced to cram as much as we can in there.

I fucking HATE bureaucrats. I hate them with a passion. There is NO need to change the format. They pull this shit all the time.... you'd think after decades of grant reviews and funding, they'd figure out what format they want.... but nooooooooooo.... little fucking GED pencil pusher needs a job. He 'proves' he's an essential part of the chain by pulling this fast-change shit and 'guarding' the review committees from grants that don't follow his fast-change shit.

The review committees DON'T FUCKING CARE!! Keep it below 10 pages, make it direct, to the point, easy to figure out... and they're happy.


"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

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