Here’s the situation … I’ll be submitting a proposal in a few weeks for a small ($60K/yr, 2yr max) non-NIH new investigator grant that I unsuccessfully applied for last year as a postdoc. (I’ve already
While last year's reviewers were overjoyed about the proposal, my potential and the research environment at Postdoc U, a couple of them were concerned about my ability to operate independently given how many bigwigs there were around me and that my then-department chair had stipulated that promotion to junior faculty was contingent on funding.
Fast forward to the present and I now have the junior faculty position at Really Big U but am now being advised by my former postdoc mentor, Dr J, as well as my new department chair, Dr K (who thinks the sun shines out of my ass btw … and rightly so), that I need to include collaborators as “the appearance of a support system for a junior investigator is a good thing, especially if this is a grant for new investigators”.
Dr K and I have been emailing back and forth all afternoon about this issue and what it entails.
I had already listed Dr J as a consultant on the project as he is a bigwig in the specific signaling mechanism I’m proposing to focus on but in a different field to his area of expertise. Dr K is writing a glowing letter in her role as department chair detailing my many amazing and fundworthy qualities.
We both finally agreed that instead of listing a bunch more people as collaborating investigators, it would be best if I approached Prof Big Cheese to see if he would be willing to lend his considerable professional weight to my application. I should point out that I’ve never met Prof Big Cheese but that he’s head of a big research center here at Really Big U to which I applied for membership and he has a squillion dollars in NIH cash, the most recent of which is for a faculty mentoring program. (I’ve also been assured that he’s been dying to meet me … and rightly so.)
Is it just me or is this like a dog chasing its tail?
As a postdoc, you aren’t considered to be independent because you’re surrounded by wonderful advisors and haven’t gotten the faculty job but once you get the faculty gig you need to have the advisors around to support your application for independent funding.
I guess this is all good practice as this is the proposal to which I’m going to add a third aim and submit as an R01 but it’s frustrating trying to figure out the right balance between independence and not.