Here's something that I suspect many STC readers, particularly those applying for funding, will sympathize with. For about forty years I wrote countless fellowship and grant applications. All along I noticed a steady increase in the number of bureaucratic forms that needed to be filled out to render an application complete. One of the great benefits of retirement is the complete disappearance of such red tape activities in my life. But then, a recent change in the grant application process at the NIH made me wish I could once again submit proposals simply to be able to comply with a particular requirement. For as long as I can remember, proposals needed to include a section entitled "Other Support" in order to determine if there was any overlap in scientific aims of purportedly different projects. In the ever-increasing effort to monitor investigator's full disclosure of outside activities, the instructions of the Other Support reporting now state:
"Other Support includes all resources made available to a researcher in support of and/or related to all of their research endeavors, regardless of whether or not they have monetary value and regardless of whether they are based at the institution the researcher identifies for the current grant."
The instructions also state this about in-kind contributions:
"If the time commitment or dollar value of the in-kind contribution is not readily ascertainable, the recipient must provide reasonable estimates."
If I could do it all over again… here are just three essential Other Support in-kind resources that I would list and label as permanently on call and priceless:
My family, my dogs and my therapist, all of whom tolerate my extreme mood swings and help guard my sanity during grant writing time.
Grant applicants of the world: have fun listing all your otherwise underappreciated Other Support out there! I am sure the functionaries reading your applications will delight in your whimsy.