And yes… finally I had something to report.
So, when I started reblogging (restarted blogging? Probably… but I kinda like the way the first one sounds) I decided that I would include work updates in this blog, not a separate one. I decided in a whirl of naive optimism, touched with a tinge of arrogance, that I would write interesting, pithy weekly summaries that summarized the important scientific advancements I was making daily. Then, I ran into a major problem:
I am not making them.
The thing is, as my friend Warwick says in his bitterly sarcastic way: “Things move at the speed of Science”. There is the idea conception… the manuscript proposal.. the data analysis, and re-analaysis and re-analysis, then the drafting, rewriting and submitting of manuscripts. The reviewing, the resubmitting, and then, if you are lucky enough to get it published the wait while the publisher makes a publishers PDF. All this before you can really share it in the pubic domain.
So, while you live paper-to-paper and grant-to-grant you actually only write maybe 5/6 papers a year. Given that it would not be fair to my PI to write about her data before it is published, that is to say, on average every 2 months, you have some results you can talk about. The rest of the time? Well, it is “I rewrote the paper”… “I re-rewrote the paper after the co-authors feedback”… “I re-re-rewrote the paper after the Journal of Over-inflated Self Importance rejected it” “I re-re- [OK, OK, you know where I am going here]” OR “I answered emails for an hour”… “I spent 4 hours submitting a paper”… “I spent 2 hours collecting signatures”, maybe, if you are lucky, “I wrote a grant, oh but I can’t talk about it until it is funded in case someone else copies it”… “I was at a conference”, “I reanalyzed removing outliers” and “I made some other small change that set me back days” are also likely candidates for a weekly update.
And so on.
What I am trying to say is that reportable, at-least-might-be-vaguely-interesting-results are few and far between. So, my radio silence on the weekly updates is not to indicate that I haven’t been working, just that I haven’t had much tangible success. But, rest assured, you’ll hear about it when I do. Which brings me to:
I won a competition. Huzzah. I took first place (but had to wait for the official announcement) in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center’s (NORCs) ‘Creativity is a Decision’ competition. The idea was to come up with a grant idea, that showed ‘out of the box’ thinking related to obesity research. I obviously cannot share all the exact details, but mine was an exercise intervention study, designed to reduce BMI through reducing insulin resistance, all while decreasing participant burden thus increasing compliance. Basically: exercise that works, that people will do.
Anyway, I came first in my category. Huzzah (again).
Now I have to write another grant and get this idea funded. But, until then, I have to go back to not-doing-anything [reportable].