collaboration with taxonomists (Re: Doug Yanega wrote:)

Doug Yanega dyanega at MONO.ICB.UFMG.BR
Fri May 23 10:05:20 CDT 1997


Among a number of things with which I can't or won't argue too much, Mike
Ivie wrote:

>In our lab we watch for projects that need
>our services, but don't know it.  Then, we put together a pitch, just
>like a business, and go out and try for the business.

The more I thought about this statement, the more I wondered how, exactly,
one can "watch for projects" when what we were discussing was things like
ecologists submitting grant proposals that don't include money for a
taxonomist, thus resorting to morphotyping and vouchering when they could
have done better. Unless one has close personal connections to the people
writing such a grant, I can't see how one would ever know - it is not like
there is some bulletin board where everyone working on a new grant proposal
makes a public announcement about it. If what you're saying is basically
"It's who you know", then I don't think you'll get much argument. However,
the topic was not tapping into extant funding programs independently, but
how to get into collaborative agreements with other scientists *before*
they have submitted their proposals. Unless what you're saying is LITERALLY
pounding on the doors of people...but I think if, for example, I contacted
every botanist or plant ecologist in the hemisphere, asking them to
consider including a "pollinator taxonomist" as co-PI in their next grant,
I would become persona non-gratis rather quickly.

>Write up a proposal, find a
>way to do something novel, look for strong impacts.

Again, I think the point was not so much how we, individually, could get
taxonomic projects supported, but rather how we could convince people doing
other sorts of projects that they would benefit from working with
taxonomists (hopefully on an equal basis). The time to get funding to put
names on material is not 20 years after the original study is finished,
working with vouchers from already-published studies, but AS the study is
being done, with money in the budget to pay for as broad a base of
expertise as may be needed. Or are you suggesting that taxonomists start
writing all the ecological-based grants, and inviting the ecologists to
join *us*?

Sincerely,

Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
                  http://www.icb.ufmg.br/~dyanega/
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82




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