Failure Is an Option Part 2: Grants

(Image credit: NSF)

Previously I posted a version of my CV that listed all the peer-reviewed journals that had rejected my papers before they finally got published.  What else do academics struggle with?  Getting money.  To make this point, I’ve compiled a list of all my unsuccessful grant applications.

Some reflect the same proposal submitted to multiple funding sources.  I was the PI on over half of them.  All thirteen were submitted in a four-year period, between 2006 and 2010; during the same years I had two proposals funded.  Prior to 2006 I’d been more successful in my attempts at securing extramural funding.  After 2010, I gave up.  It was a prodigious waste of time, and I don’t need grants to do my research (indeed,  much of the funding I had received previously paid for frills like summer salary).

A few years ago, Steven Cohen, then director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, issued this lament to a reporter: “Over the past two decades, I fear that we have reached a tipping point, where our top scientists are spending a larger and larger portion of their time raising funds and less and less time devoted to science.”

I feel you, Steve, even if I’m not a top scientist.

Funded Proposals

2008-2009. “Mid Career and Beyond in Academia.” Association of Institutional Researchers ($40,000).

2008. “Religion and Relationships in Urban America.” John Randolph Foundation (subcontract; $14,960).

2004-2006. “Family Formation and Professional Advancement in Academia.” Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ($44,920).

2004-2006. “Trends in the Incomes of Never-Married Mothers.” William T. Grant Foundation ($61,629).

2004-2005. “Spiritual Transformation and Marriage in Urban America.” John Templeton Foundation (subcontract; $19,305).

2003-2005. “A Family-Friendly Package for Ladder-Rank Faculty at the University of California.” Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (subcontract; $16,824).

1998-2002. “The Effects of Divorce on Adult Well-Being.” Bireley Foundation ($95,000).

Unfunded Proposals

2010. “Flexible Career Policies: Increasing Gender Equity in the Professoriate?” National Institutes of Health ($2,500,000; co-PI).

2009. “The Effects of Retirement Benefits on Faculty Retirement.” Steven H. Sandell Grant Program in Retirement Research ($42,697).

2009. “The Effects of Retirement Benefits on Faculty Retirement.” TIAA-CREF Institute Research Grant Program ($38,816).

2009. “Mapping Academic Career Success of Women and Underrepresented Minorities.” National Institutes of Health ($150,625; co-PI).

2009. “Programs That Work: Promoting Diversity in the Biomedical Workforce.” National Institutes of Health ($5,000,000; co-PI).

2008. “Family Structure and Voter Turnout.” National Science Foundation ($173,703).

2008. “Institutional and Individual Factors Associated with Successful Women Scientists.” National Institutes of Health ($1,505,000; co-PI).

2007. “Family Structure and Voter Turnout.” Earhart Foundation ($37,356).

2007. “Family Structure and Voter Turnout.” Pew Charitable Trusts ($105,279).

2007. “Persistent Effects of Family Structure on the Incomes of Single Mothers.” National Science Foundation ($130,948).

2007. “Together Bound: The Interactive Role of Unconditional Love, Generativity, Gender Complementarity, & Spirituality in Marriage.” John Templeton Foundation ($59,500; co-PI).

2006. “Religion and Relationships in Urban America.” Bradley Foundation ($23,605; co-PI).

2006. “Family Structure and Voter Turnout.” Smith Richardson Foundation ($55,667).

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