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Whom to believe December 5, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, research, work.
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I went to conference earlier this year in Tucson, Arizona.  While there, I saw a lot of cool presentations, but one in particular really got me interested.  I knew we’d done some work similar to this presentation, and it was obvious that there was some interest in the area.  However, I wanted to come up with a different application so as not to be competing with work  already being done.

When I came back, we did a lot of brainstorming, but couldn’t quite come up with anything.  Or rather, it’s not that we didn’t come up with anything but that the practicalities of applying this solution to the application in mind had some serious issues.  The idea sat for months in the back of my head, churning.  Finally, about 3 months ago, I came up with a method to deal with the problems.  I got together some people whose skills were required, convinced them my crazy idea might have some merit, and we started writing out proposals and white papers.

(Note: coming up with an idea less than two weeks before the opening of proposal windows for major funding agencies is NOT a good idea.)

Of the few people who have heard about this idea, they generally liked it and thought it was clever as well as pragmatic.  (And here I feel like I’m doing well if I manage to hit one of those!)  However, there was one person who really did NOT like the idea.  In meeting with this person, they spent a good chunk of our meeting dismissing it and pointing out its flaws.  I was feeling, after talking with this person, that maybe I’d made a mistake and the idea wasn’t terribly good.  In fact, I really felt like they were suggesting the project was a waste of time.

Four days later, I got an email saying that the letter of intent submitted to one funding agency had been reviewed: they want a full proposal.  I felt considerably better after that.  However, rather than feeling entirely vindicated, I think I might want to sit down and take notes on the drawbacks and flaws that were pointed out.  Hopefully, this will contribute to a better final proposal.

After that email, however, I’m not sure I believe that the idea is a total loss.  I guess the funding agencies will let me know one way or the other.

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