Name: Janet Stemwedel
Job: Philosophy Professor
Source: Doing Good Science [original post from February 2012]
I was trying to write an NSF proposal to get funding for a post-doc I had lined up. I was very interested in the research in the lab in which I was planning to work. Indeed, I had been pretty enthuisiastic about the whole thing while I put together an NIH proposal to fund postdoctoral research in that lab. I could definitely imagine three years worth of learning about systems and measurment techniques that were new to me, and I could see it building on (and drawing upon) the things I had learned in my doctoral program in interesting ways.
But the NSF proposal I was writing was such that I could not describe the research project I was planning to undertake as a post-doc. Rather, the task was to describe the first project I envisioned undertaking as a principal investigator. In other words, tell us what you’ll contribute when you are officially a grown up scientist.
Now, I could think of lots of projects I would be qualified to pursue. I could even work out interesting projects in my general area of expertise that would be fundable. But, I was having trouble putting my heart into any of them. Imagining myself setting up a lab of my own to pursue any of these lines of research made me… sad.