I recently had the opportunity to apply for a grant as principal investigator. The reason for writing this post today is to say thanks to everyone involved, including the RKEO staff, the Co-investigators (Paula Callus in particular), the partner institutions but also all colleagues who gave us suggestions, supporting and helping also if not involved (Isabella Rega and Richard Berger were some of these).
On reflection, I would have done all of it differently. More time was needed (possibly not when on Annual Leave and not night time), partners need to be in place well before the call is out, reference letters cannot be asked for last minute, etc. I made all (or almost all) the mistakes above, but I had a very clear idea about the project and I felt surrounded by enthusiastic colleagues who were happy to share their expertise with me. I now know I have still a lot to learn and I can’t wait for the next opportunity.
A good point was to take notes which will be used for next grant applications. Somehow it does not matter if we will get the funding at this first attempt, we are looking forward to improving the application and the project itself, which will require more research. Yes, applying for grants is not a boring task, there is a lot of research involved which brings new ideas and opens up opportunities, whether you get the funding or not.
I hope this post will be read as a positive gentle push to apply for grants and not only because it’s the Institution in need of more grants applications but because the process itself is incredibly enriching. I hope my colleagues enjoy their future grant applications as much as I did.