Study Section: Act II

October 8, 2008

Time: One to six weeks prior to February, June or October, two rounds after Act I.
Setting: Assorted messy professorial offices, planes, hotels

Dramatis Personæ:

  • Assistant Professor Yun Gun (ad hoc)
  • Associate Professor Rap I.D. Squirrel (standing member)
  • Professor H. Ed Badger (standing member, second term)
  • Dr. Cat Herder (Scientific Review Officer)
  • Badger’s Highly Accomplished Administrative Assistant, Eunice

Six weeks before the study section meeting:
Yun Gun: [Logs into Commons, downloads each assigned grant, starts reading each one cover-to-cover]
Rap I.D. Squirrel: [Glances at email from SRO Cat Herder announcing the opening of the Submit Phase on Commons, deletes, goes back to work]
H. Ed. Badger: [Flying back from three weeks “collaborating” with his buddy in Bordeaux]

Two weeks before the study section meeting:
YG: [Exhausted] OMG! I can’t believe these people can do this every round! I’ve been reading proposals and writing my four page critiques for weeks in every spare moment!
RS: hmm, wonder what I did with that study section CD….[hunts around on desk] aha! Password? wtf? for each damn proposal and summary statement? This blows…better log into Commons where I can at least save them after three clicks each…can the CSR do anything more to dissuade us from actually reading these things? [starts reviewing] I swear… one of these days I’m going to just use a template like I suspect ol’ Badgie does….
HB: [shuttling to three invited talks spread out around the world]

One week before the study section meeting, two days prior to Commons posting deadline:
YG: oh, I’m nervous to see what the other reviewers thought on my assigned grants…when did Cat Herder say the Read Phase opened?
RS: dangit! I forgot to finish up those three grant reviews I had left…wonder if I can get to them by the deadline…oh well, we only get 60% by the deadline anyway, I can finish up on the weekend.
HB: hmm, don’t I have some grants to review around here somewhere? [pokes through desk for 20 min, finally calls TurboAdmin Eunice who deftly extracts the ten R01 pdfs she’s printed out for HB to read]
Eunice: “And don’t forget you have a seminar speaker showing up in three hours….”
HB: okay, better get rocking. File:Open ….where is it, where is it….ahh‘. SaveAs, SaveAs, SaveAs……..alright, sortin’ time
[glances through PI and title for all ten applications, scans five Abstracts, checks two Biosketches]
Let’s edit!
[cut, insert, cut, brief interlude of mad typing, paste, cut, recheck application, mad typing, cut, cut] …lemme see here….[reads critique, re-skims part of proposal]….ok, good enough for gover’mint work!
[Repeat X 9] Done!
Eunice, knocking: “Professor Badger, the seminar speaker Professor GrossKopf is here to see you…”
HB: “Hey Grossie! Let’s hit the coffeeshop…..Eunice, would you please upload those critiques to Commons by 9pm Eastern? Thanks!”

Read Phase:
RS: [already in Bethesda, meeting with some intramural collaborators] whoops, still have two left to review, don’t I?
HB: “Eunice? Can you print out the critiques for my assigned grants? I’ll take those on the plane to DC…”
YG: I’m on three with Professor Badger this time, let’s see what he has to say…..hmm, kinda familiar…wtf!!??? Does he just lightly edit the same damn critique every time!???!!!

No Responses Yet to “Study Section: Act II”

  1. niewiap Says: hilarious!!!! Act III, please!!!


  2. PM Says:

    DM, which one are you? YG?


  3. Alright, DM. My hat’s off to you, brother. This was funny enough that the domestic and laboratory goddess laughed hard enough to pee a little.
    Now all you need are some cheeky illutrations.


  4. BKProf Says:

    Oh man, it’s hard to get me laughing this early in the a.m., but you succeeded. I second the motion for an Act III. As someone of the Squirrel family, I see myself and many colleagues in your scenarios.
    Oh, and have I mentioned that I can NOT WAIT until my 4-year stint is over? I inwardly curse harder every time the Cat Herder sends me another pile of goodies. (Unlike PP, I am not of the outwardly cursing persuasion.)


  5. pffffffuuudd Says:

    Grant loads are way up. We had two, count ’em, two ad hocs. This sucks for applicants. What about expertise?


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