A recent post in Uncertain Chad’s series on alternative careers caught the eyes of your hardworking blogstaff over here at DrugMonkey. One Julie Myers-Irvin describes her job as:

I work at the University of Pittsburgh as a “Scientist Administrator” (a terribly nondescript title that I will expand upon). My office offers services to PIs to enhance and assist researchers with their research programs. My main task is to read and critique grant applications before they are submitted to funding agencies (mostly NIH but also some foundations). Basically, I act like a reviewer. I review grants for scientific content as well as do general copy editing of applications for PIs (especially those for whom English is not their native language). I also provide tips on general grantsmanship advice and try to help PIs craft the most competitive grant application possible. I help PIs find funding opportunities and resources they need to do their research.

As our more astute PI readers know, the most excellent Medical Writing Editing & Grantsmanship blog is authored by someone in a very similar job category.
My institution has nothing that approaches this type of support and, I can tell you, we would benefit from having it.
How about you, DearReader? What is the institutional support for grant writing, opportunity finding, etc like in your neck of the science woods?

“What we need are one-handed scientists!” – Sen Edmund Muskie

The title is a question that is most frequently asked by a parent or close relative of an individual (typically male) who is in the early adult years. Said parent is clearly distressed by the career choices made/not made by their son, grandson or nephew who (they have finally acknowledged to themselves) smokes a lot of dope. Has for years and shows no signs of quitting.
The pot smoker has, of course, turned out to be a disappointment to their relatives in one way or another, typically vocationally. And they ask me, almost pleadingly, frequently with a tinge of self-flagellation, to confirm their suspicion that the pot smoking is at the root of junior’s lack of gumption.
I have to tell them that nobody can satisfactorily answer this question for them. Not me, not science. Not with any confidence of certainty, anyway.

Read the rest of this entry »

The official Facebook page* for the Society for Neuroscience has an interesting update/wall entry.

Interested in blogging at Neuroscience 2009? Give it some thought. SfN will post application instructions on the Neuroscience 2009 Web site later this month.

Interesting until you remember that the wifi coverage at your typical SfN meeting is poor in the presentation rooms and completely absent on the poster floors. Some of the vendors manage to have internet and even the odd wifi spot so clearly the capability is there.
I will note that this is maddening to those of us who do some of our poster browsing ad hoc, instead of making up comprehensive itineraries in advance. Also, to those of us who want to be able to quickly check PubMed or an abstract from a previous day, or…. Dammit, we need wifi at scientific meetings, yo!
I have it on reasonably good authority that as recently as the past couple of weeks SfN was insisting that no internet would be made available on the poster floor (this person was requesting it for a poster presentation).
So what’s it going to be SfN? Do you want blogging of the meeting? Good wifi is the price of doing business.
*if you are on Facebook and a SfN member do me a favor would you? Go over to that wall update and tell ’em to get wifi working for the meeting?