Money Talks

March 7, 2019

When you are looking to advance in academic science, sure everything is supposed to be about “scientific merit”. And who knows, maybe that is indeed a very large driver but as we all know there is nothing objective about that assessment. CNS pubs, JIF points, per article citations, overall scientist citations, h-index, “actually reading the papers”….. pfagh.

It’s the money that is a universal language. Grant money. Money that is under your control right now. Your history of acquiring grant money and the deployment of that history to predict your future ability to secure grant money.

We talk about this topic now and again. I have made this blog in very large part about how getting grant money works (and fails to work) within the US biomedical science setting. In this I get pushback from a lot of directions, including those individuals that are basically only lamenting that this is a reality. We also have those individuals that think it is gauche to talk about such things, indecorous to reveal our dirty scrabbling efforts or to suggest that fellow scientists should think hard about how to get grants.

Well, I’ve just been through a process in which no fewer than three academic institutes were deciding whether to employ YHN and simultaneously deciding whether to employ some other scientists working in roughly the same areas as me. And I am here to tell you…it is better to have grant money than not to have grant money. I happened to be on an upswing when most of the decisions were being made and it counted. A lot.

So keep sending in those applications people. Keep your foot on the floor. It is what gets you opportunity. It is what keeps you employed. It is what allows your other talents (like that science stuff) to be so much as viewed. Don’t let anyone gaslight you with “don’t get to big for your britches, junior” or “grants are a means not an ends” (yeah no duh, what does that even mean) or versions of “uppity” or “it’s only fair if every person that wants a grant gets one” or anything else. For you, you in particular? The lesson is clear. Get the money. Do the science. Get some more money. Do some more science.

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