1. Know thyself.
When was the last time you Googled yourself? Updated your CV? Updated your career goals? Took a good long look at what you’ve accomplished thus far…and where you want to be in 10 years? When was the last time you asked for constructive criticism on your research?
2. Name thy enemy.
A comprehensive literature review is the first step in generating a fundable research idea. When you’re working on the literature review, pay attention and start making a list of the competition. Who are the main authors? Who are the collaborators? Do a search on this year’s annual conference abstracts to find those who is presenting in your area. Generate a list of names of those in your field who are actively working in your area.
3. Research thy enemy.
Next, head to the NIH RePORTER and plug-in those names! See what is funding these people, where is the money coming from? Check the publications, check the NIH, check everywhere to find out who and what is funding this area of research. (Remember, you can use your competitor’s abstracts and key words to improve your next grant proposal!)
4. Humble thyself.
Is there someone who is dangerously close to your line of research? Sounds like it might be time to invest in some Starbucks time and meet this person for coffee at the next annual meeting. See if there’s something small you can work on together.
5. Sit thy butt down and write a grant proposal.