Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maybe this isn't the best idea....

So, in a fit of procrastination (actually, I am working from home this afternoon-after a long talk with big boss man yesterday, we decided to write two manuscripts with all the data I have instead of just one-- so here I sit trying to revamp the story I was going to tell...) anyways, I digress.

Let's start this again.  I decided to peruse the NIH website looking for info on K99 awards and whatnot.  That is when I made the fatal error of looking at the application material.  I have seen how the specific aims/design and methods sections/etc. sections should look. Hell, I even wrote my own for my NRSA fellowship and "helped" (wrote) with the co-PI in writing for the RO1 grant we have.

I was not expecting to see the budgetary part.  Never have seen it, don't know if I want to again.  Scared the shit out of me, come to think of it.  I don't know how much money I am going to need.  I don't have the slightest clue how to budget for consumables and equipment and salaries and ...holy shit.  I think this was one big huge rude awakening.  I thought I was ahead, I thought I had things down.  I thought, I am awesome, I do cool science, they'll decide how much money and just give it to me.  I didn't realize that I had to break things down, justify things (OK, I did--I am not a total dumbass--but seeing it in black-and-white freaked the hell out of me). 

I thought, no big deal, I can do this PI thing (well, OK, not "no big deal" but at least I have been exposed to it) but it just kind of hit me how behind the eight ball I am when it comes to this.  I kind of feel like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo when he would sit there and say how bad of an idea this might be.  Can you already feel in over your head when you haven't even stepped in the pool yet....or maybe I am just freaking myself out and trying to run before I can even stand. (Hmmm, what other cheesy-ass cliche can I throw in here...again, with the digressions--focus, damnit, focus!)

How rude would it be to ask Big boss man if I could see our budgetary things?  Or maybe the former post-doc turned TT faculty if I could see his start-up budget list (since we are doing essentially the same things).  Maybe I am not as cut out for this as I thought.  I can do the science.  I can come up with the big ideas, I can mentor, but being an accountant, a manager, a budgetary guru...damn, maybe I should go back and get a degree in finance. 

5 comments:

Comrade PhysioProf said...

This shit is a *lot* easier than you think. For a grants like a K99/R00 or a modular R01 with a hard budget cap, you just make up a budget that adds up to the cap, allocating a reasonable amount to your own effort, other personnel salaries, and equipment and/or supplies. NIH has very generous rebudgeting policies, so you don't have to sweat the details of the allocation at all.

HerMindsEye said...

I think it's totally legit to ask for examples from others. I don't know much about it, but I think your PI should be able to give you some guidance here. I personally think everything on the NIH website is ridiculous and complicated looking!!

Dr. Zeek said...

Thanks to the both of you.

CPP- I guess I didn't realize that you could re budget things. The way the talk was in the lab (and granted from people who think they know everything but really have a hard time differentiating between their heads and their asses)were commenting that the budget thing is set in stone. Once you send it in, that's it, you have sold your soul sort of thing. I think I just had a minor (OK somewhat major) freak out when I realized that it was now my call and I had to come up with actual numbers. But again, really, what the fuck did I expect. The magic lab gnomes don't come in at night and hack away at the grant.

HME- Yeah, I am just going to ask my PI. He is extremely open about everything that goes on "behind the scenes" and is willing to pass any bit of his 50+ yrs of experience on to us...

Thanks again guys, looking at it today (wonders what a good night's sleep will do for my mental health) it's doable. Not easy, not a cake walk, just doable.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Once you send it in, that's it, you have sold your soul sort of thing.

That's completely false. For modular R01 grants, you don't submit a detailed budget at all.

HerMindsEye said...

All very good to know!