Tomorrow morning I have to trudge up the stairs to my boss's office and tell him that I can't make my fellowship proposal work. I have to tell him that after racking my brain almost constantly for weeks and after one flat-out rejection and numerous unanswered emails, no one wants to collaborate with me. I've read dozens of papers and not one indicated that the composite material I want to study is useful for anything biomedically related. The worst is that I was given a second chance to make my research fit in better with the fellowship's theme and I have absolutely nothing to give them. My boss has pinned his hopes on me getting me this fellowship so that I wouldn't have to depend on him for funding for two years. He can't afford to fund everyone in the lab anymore because science funding has been butchered. The division of the army that funded all of the work for my Master's thesis doesn't exist anymore. The elimination of this branch of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was part of a major shift in government spending away from materials and device technology and towards homeland security which mainly consists of weaponry and anti-terroism research. Yee haw. Thanks, Dubyah.
Anyway, a big part of why this troubles me so much is that I have failed at something that my advisor specifically tries to instill in all his students: market yourself. Dr. Hari thinks that being a scientist is 1/3 science, 1/3 teaching and 1/3 advertising. At conferences, meetings, poster sessions sell your product, that is, your research. If you aren't confident and excited about what you do, why should anyone else be? You are given a few sentences to capture and hold their interest. Writing proposals to make your research fit in with a pre-specified goal is an art, one that I thought I had a talent for. The way I see it, I have three options. Well four.
1. I could turn in nothing.
2. I could turn in the same proposal I did the first time with some of the sentences slightly changed to make it "revised" in the most literal sense of the word.
3. I could start over and figure out a completely new system to study. Set my research back at least a year, betray my goal of being a materials physicst all for the extra money and completely buy into the bionanobullshit.
4. Move to Key West and open a Tikki Bar.