Grant writing for postdoc

S L Forsburg forsburg at
Mon Jun 23 11:44:56 EST 1997

Noel Fong (mailto:ez005881 at wrote
> I like the work going on this lab, and I like the PI. If I do not get
> the
> offer, I am considering talking to him about writing my own post-doc
> grant
> to work in his lab. That is, if the only reason I didn't get the offer
> is
> that I wasn't the best fit in terms of readily transferrable skills,
> and
> not because I didn't "fit" well with the group.

A nomenclature nitpick:  Are you talking about a fellowship, or
a grant?  A grant is something that requires a faculty position
or equivalent, and is actually awarded to the institution. 
To write a grant with the PI means that his would have to
be the submitting name and the grant would include costs and
a percentage of his effort.  Therefore it would be a major
commitment of his resources.  While he might do this with
a inexperienced new postdoc, it would be rather unusual.

 A  fellowship is that which provides a postdoc (eg) with a 
salary and perhaps some travel money, to work in a senior person's 
lab--such as ACS, or Damon Runyon, or the like.  A fellowship is
written by and submitted by the postdoc, and while administered
by the institution in many cases, is usually mobile if the
postdoc wants to switch labs.  It does not usually provide
the costs of research (ballpark figure--your average molecular 
biology costs on the order of $10K per year per person), which
comes off of the PIs grant.  Therefore, the postdoc is usually
still working on some aspect of the PIs projects, and not
completely independent.

In many labs (mine included), writing fellowships is a requirement
of all postdocs.    So, writing one is not something special.  
While I write postdoc positions into my grants, I also expect 
my postdocs to work to get their own funding.  Advertised 
positions usually indicate funding in hand, but it's not a
bad idea even so to write for a fellowship and establish a
record of independent support even so.

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
time to speak for anyone else."

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