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Monday, September 2, 2013

Fly above the cloud when it rains...

I have posted this on my lab door to motivate my students and myself. This is what I tell to myself time and again when there is a crisis situation - although technically there should be no-crisis-like situation.

I have joined IICB during a time when all the Networking projects were decided, 12th 5 year plan was laid. So, there was very little scope for me to get into any of these lucrative fund giving projects. Fortunately or unfortunately I have been included in one of the networking projects but I am still clueless about the fund part. I only see occasionally some mention of the fund, its reduction and so on, but never saw anything for my lab as yet... Anyways leaving the complaint part aside, how do I run my lab? Director is generous enough to have granted me some money for my sequencing programs and servers which I thought was adequate, but balancing sides such as purchase, vendors, payments have been a herculean task for me.

I will give an example here. I want to do some genome sequencing with a third party. I call them, negotiate a price (With promise to give them more business later). They take few days finally before making an offer. Now I look for money, get it sanctioned and raise an indent. But unfortunately there sits a man who has the power to reject it for no apparent reason. The reason - he does not understand what it is. Fine, no one is suppose to understand everything, but will it not be nice to come back and ask? Then you go back and ask, and then  he agrees to reverse it. By then the buggy software makes the account zero. You then go and talk with the same man he holds the power to change that zero status to previous status, will make you wait for 30 minutes and may be finally do that. You raise the indent again, then he sits on it before you really go and ask about the status. Then comes a committee formation and finally giving an order. When you get the order you send your samples to the company and the company does the job and sequences the samples and gives you the bill. The lousy department sets some date cutoffs (twice a year). If your bill reaches later than the cutoff date, your money disappears and truly disappears and you are responsible for paying the bills. Just imagine the life of a scientist is suppose to be much more skewed towards research rather than these mundane activities, but it is unfortunately so here.

All these money giving, money disappearing act happens when the money is given by the institute. Now, the only way around is to get your own fund. So, I am rather more determined to get the money from outside rather than from inside. With lot of deadlines hovering on my head for grant submission let this be a motivation rather than having negativity towards the people that create impossible situation. So finally I can say amidst my work trips,  my carrier trips (Carrying DNA samples, getting the bill in hand), my personal trips, I have survived, meeting deadlines and submitting 3 grant proposals back to back to DBT. Hope atleast one of them gets funded. So, this is what I would say running above the cloud when it rains....


  1. Wow ma'am! I appreciate your get going attitude despite anything.

  2. mam realy well said one and hope will cross the fingers, and wait for some funding soon ....

  3. Very well written. Hoping for the best in the near future