Yesterday I submitted two grant applications. Thank god that’s done. Unfortunately, that still leaves 2 more to go in the next 6 weeks and all the rest that have to go in for the rest of my life.

Actually, I don’t mind writing grant applications all that much. I like thinking about study design, and how to get real answers out of data. The part I don’t like is doing the background research! I’m not sure why. I’m a pretty good reader, but I find it hard to go through paper after paper, especially when so few of them actually seem to be directly relevant. I guess it’s something I better learn how to do though – you have to know the background before you can ask good questions.

And I will be writing grants for the rest of my life. That’s how academics works: write a grant; get funded; do some some research; publish some papers; write another grant because the first one is over; get funded; etc. etc. And if you fail to get a grant? That’s when life gets scary.

In medicine, it means you may have to do more clinical work – i.e. see more patients. As I’ve said before, I like seeing patients, but when you have to spend more time doing it, you have less time for research. Then you get less done and publish less, and then it’s harder to win the next grant. So once you break the cycle, it can be hard to get back in. Both medicine and academic research are jealous mistresses.

So, I’m submitting lots of grants this year. This is the first one, and if I get can get funding, hopefully I’ll be off. If not, I may never get on the ride.

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