Academic Research Is Not for the Faint of Heart

I perform cardiac arrest research and so I understand the heart fairly well. What I don’t understand well, from a common sense stand point, is the granting process. There are many issues with the grant submission and funding award process that give me pause. They should give you, the American public who could benefit from increased biomedical research and discoveries, pause as well. Especially when considering where we are today in terms of life expectancy, disease eradication and medical treatments, in large part because of biomedical research. You’re welcome!

President Obama understands this, in his last State of the Union address earlier this month, he declared that “Medical research is critical.” Though I am extremely biased, I couldn’t agree more! But performing biomedical research is difficult, academia can be a rat race of publishing, lecturing, grant-writing, teaching, leaving one to wonder: is it worth it? The funding environment over the recent years would lead one to believe that it is not. And so you then have to ask yourself, “how badly do I want it?”. This is a tough question in academic research where on one hand, in the current state, failure is an expected outcome when applying for grants, but on the other hand, you can’t succeed in academia without being successful. Rock…meet hard place!

And here are the top 3 reasons why, though failure is not an option, it is more often than not the outcome:

Mo’ money, mo’ money: Funding

According to an NPR report earlier this year that analyzed National Institute of Health (NIH) funding data, they stated that “3,400 scientists lost their sustaining grants between 2012 and 2013.” Whereas the NIH in the early 2000s could —> Read More