Showing posts from 2015

The DDIG: a comprehensive guide

Workshop: Writing Successful NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants Irene Newton, Spencer Hall, Heather Reynolds, September 9 th , 2013 - revised August 17, 2015 Contents: Introduction: nuts and bolts, can/should you do this?.................................................... Sage advice: what makes a good DDIG? what makes a bad one?................................... Merit review criteria: mock panel summaries for competitive ……………………….……… and non competitive grants   Introduction The National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) and Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB) offer PhD candidates a great opportunity to apply for research money while starting a relationship with NSF. Through its Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) program, NSF awards up to $13K (direct costs) for 24 months to students meeting eligibility requirements.  In this document we first provide a brief overview of the process and propos

Lab Tweaks

I was inspired by a recent Planet Money podcast on tweaking the world and am adapting some of their suggestions and including a few of my own below with reference to the scientific laboratory.  Playing the science game can be grueling work - and often unrewarding ( what!? I've got to repeat that experiment again?! ).  Being that we wade in a bog of negative results and criticisms daily, I like to think of ways to make the process more pleasant for my people.  After all, happy people are more productive, so it's really entirely in my own interest, as a PI, to create a good work environment. (1) A place to eat as a group: (doing this now) At Harvard, it's called the "tea room", at IU it's called the "break room" -- whatever you call it -- the space that people in your lab can use to congregate around the water cooler/coffee machine/microwave is sacred.  This space not only provides a safe place to eat (esp. for those in BSL2 labs) but also provides

Gestating a human takes less time than publishing a paper

Long have scientists ranted about the arbitrary and lengthy process of peer review (see a great post on what is wrong with peer review by Michael Eisen ).  Now it's my turn, alright ? What is supposed to happen during peer review (an evaluation of the merits of the paper, an assessment of novelty/impact, and constructive criticism of the science) can happen.  But this is a story about how it failed, in one particular way.  A story, in three parts (three rounds of reviews) -- about how it will take me less time to create a fully formed human being than it will take to publish this manuscript. Part I: Submitting a manuscript to PLoS Pathogens We've got some exciting new work coming out of the lab -- I won't be shy about it.  We've discovered an interesting interaction between Drosophila actin and Wolbachia.   We had several lines of evidence to support our conclusions (immunohistochemistry + microscopy, western blots, PCR) and so submitted a presubmission inquiry to