I hope that am not making my blog boring by only talking about this grant, but I am still coming to terms with what this all actually means. H doesn't think that I am acting nearly excited enough about it. He keeps calling me the "new star of the department", although only a few people have heard the news so far. I am starting to realize that it is even more significant than I first thought, too. My collaborator (who just made full professor) has had a grant from the same program, but never for this much money (almost $400K). Another colleague who has had several grants has also never had one for this much money. I was shocked to hear this and assumed that they routinely received grants in the half million range, but apparently I was mistaken. Of course, the kind of research I do requires more money, so that is probably the biggest factor in the dollar amount.
I had a phone conversation with my collaborator yesterday and he told me that we need to make this project a priority and not expend a lot of time and effort pursuing other projects for the next few years. Once he said that, I knew he was right, but I hadn't really thought of it that way. Now I really need to finish this paper and get it submitted before the grant officially kicks in.
I've been through the grant proposal process MANY times in the last five years, so I am familiar with the procedures and paperwork. All of the procedures and paperwork for an award are new to me. I'm glad my colleague is the PI and has already dealt with the forms and bureaucracy of this agency! We're also scrambling to revise our budget since they didn't award the entire amount we requested (although it's 95% of what we asked for).
A colleague (who is on the P&T committee) shook my hand and said that I had guaranteed myself tenure. Really? I guess it would be ridiculous of them to dump me after I've gotten a big grant (which isn't even required for tenure in my non-PhD department), but I never really thought of it that way.
The other side of all this is that this also puts a LOT of pressure on me. I am in charge of significant parts of the project, I need to recruit a graduate student, purchase large quantities of expensive data, carry out the research, and get published. I am excited about this and don't feel that I've gotten in over my head, but I am also a bit freaked out about it. I should have lots of blog-fodder for the next few years as I struggle through all of this. It should be great- I am excited about the research and I'm going to be working with some great people.
I think I should go update my CV for my web page!