Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,


Much of my time at work lately has been spent working on a proposal to build a cool server-side data analysis workflow system. The exciting thing about this project is that we have a functioning prototype that solves all the major architectural design problems, so we know we can build it; we just need money to do the actual software engineering. Much of this work has involved getting various collaborators on board, and then there were two solid days of writing to get a first draft put together

But on Wednesday, we put it on hold. We got some indirect feedback from the funding agency that led us to conclude that it would be a real uphill battle for us to submit a competitive proposal to this particular solicitation. First, the division it's in got hit really hard by budget cuts, which will make it extra-competitive and make them even more reluctant than normal to send money to a research center that gets most of its funding from a different division. And second, we found out that we'd probably need to get a bunch of letters of support from big names. Which we could do... but not in the two weeks we had to pull the whole thing together. So we decided to give this one a pass and look for another solicitation we can submit to.

Which is disappointing, but also a big relief, because it was going to kind of eat my life for the next couple weeks to meet the deadline. And now I have time to do all the things on my to-do list that need doing urgently. Plus now we'll be able to focus on the other proposal, which is due in late July, with less stress and better odds of actually producing money.

I felt bad about making the no-go decision (a joint decision by me and the other guy working on it), but all the collaborators and my boss took it well, and I think it really was the right choice.

Sometimes in science the answer is "no".

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