Thursday, April 2, 2009

I need grant ideas

I really want to write a grant proposal, but I don't have any good ideas. Does anybody out there have any great ideas that I could use to put in a grant proposal? I want to get funding from the NIH or NSF so make sure your ideas are in line with the types of projects they fund.

I know I should come up with my own research ideas, but I can't really think of anything that hasn't been done. It's really hard thinking about that stuff. So I need your ideas. Send me your ideas to me soon. Deadlines are approaching.

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Please note: the above note is completely sarcastic. I am not actually looking for research ideas (unless they're really good, of course and can guarantee millions in funding).

My point is this: Parents, stop asking me what your child should do for a science project. Yes, I have millions of ideas, but that doesn't help your child. Yes, some guidance is necessary, but the child must ask the questions.

I will gladly help if your child has a plan and needs assistance designing an experiment to doing an experiment safely. But for crying out loud, don't expect me to tell your child what project to do.

I get asked that a lot, usually from parents. My standard response is "no," but I do offer advice on how to guide the child to discover their own project. Get the child to look around and ask "How?" and then "what if...."

Isn't that what basic research is about and isn't that what a science project should be. It all starts with curiosity. Not all kids are gifted with or nurtured to develop scientific curiosity. They will be the ones that test laundry detergent for the science fair. The scientifically curious ones will take it to a different level.

Just don't ask me what they should do.

9 comments:

Liberal Arts Chemist said...

Check out:

http://comics.com/grand_avenue/2009-03-30/

and

http://comics.com/grand_avenue/2009-03-31/

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Oh man, I was going to suggest targeting a neglected disease. Nothing says grant money like saving dying children in third world nations.

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Lisa-tastrophies said...

How about suggesting something that includes water and electrical currents? I hear those give the most shocking results....
Sorry, I couldn't help myself :-)

I don't get parents asking me for ideas, but I do get students who ask me "What should I write?" when given writing prompts. Yeah, you can lead a student to paper, but you can't make them write.

Eric said...

Give them elements of weird hard to model projects that will satisfy the political orientation of the educators (how to heatlessly desalinate water and pump back on to Antarctic land mass from an insulated platform so the ocean levels will drop, etc).

hehe

Taitauwai said...

Time to hire post doc ... (me?) :P

~E said...

I graduated Bio w/minors in biochem and ochem...and for the last 4 years (since earning my degree) I've been the go to gal for science project ideas/ science related homework help/ editing science related papers etc etc etc.

I'm thinking one of these days when I get really fed up, Ill tell some poor unsuspecting parent to mix up some volatile liquids. Maybe when it blows up in their face they'll get the idea and leave me alone.

Not saying you should do that...but you know...it's a thought.

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