Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Granting wishes; getting funding

Posts have been a little thin on the ground or laden with photos lately because I'm currently in the hamster wheel phase of academia known as grant writing. Every years, thousands of us are churning out research proposals, fiddling with budgets and banging our heads over some truly frustrating administrivia in order to have the government (through the Australia Research Council or the National Health and Medical Research Council) hand over a wad of money to fund our projects, our innovations, our discoveries.

We're asking for them to pay our incomes, to let us afford to focus on our research full time; we ask them to pay for equipment, to poke and prod and collect and document and save; we ask them to pay for experts and assistants and student scholarships; we ask them to pay for travel, to send us near and far and to bring people to us; we ask them to pay for hosting conferences and publishing books so we can share what we've done.

We're asking for thousands, for hundreds of thousands and for millions of dollars. And for that money, we'll give them results and innovations and discoveries and cures and new techniques and new knowledge; we'll tell you where we've been and where we're going. I think that's a bargain.

Last year the ARC gave out $781.8 million for 1781 projects. They funded 'Nanolamps: Unlocking targeted gene silencing in deep tissue with nanoparticle light sources' and 'From Sink to Source: Does microbial priming of degraded seagrasses contribute to global warming?' and 'A World of its Own: Earliest human occupation of the Maros karsts in Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia' and 'The Cultural Economy of Australian Artist-Run Initiatives' and 'Sexing Scholasticism: Gender in medieval thought 1150-1520' and 1776 other interesting things.

In order to get the money though, there are proposals to write, hoops to jump through, reviewers to please and the harsh gaze of oversight to avoid. There are t's to cross and i's to dot.That's what I'm doing now instead of blogging.

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