Monday, March 26, 2012

Three types of sabbatical to choose

I'm thinking of my upcoming sabbatical. I have to apply to my administration/ faculty committee this October or next October. Before I apply to the people here, it would be really nice to have a fellowship of some sort in hand. Sabbaticals are competitive here, and the best way to get one is to have someone else pay for it... In any case, before I apply for a fellowship, I need a host.

I really wanted to go someplace like Europe, Asia, or the Middle East. When I floated this past Hub, he asked his PI, who said that he could go anywhere he wanted but would probably be replaced in that year! OK, so my dream died right there.

My goals were/ are: 1. Get away! Reunite my family! Go someplace new and get a real break from teaching and this place. Live with my husband. 2. Get back into heavy-duty research and hone my skills and re-sharpen my mind. Be surrounded with excellent scientists. 3. Get a publication! Especially one that will make my mentors proud. 4. Be able to bring something back to my lab, strengthen my ability to run my lab, find new projects for my students.

Looks like I'm tied to the urban area where Hub works. So I and my husband and my husband's PI have been brainstorming. There are some seriously high-powered institutions there, so OK, not a huge loss. Perhaps we could put my kids in something like Saturday Chinese school to try to feign exotic. Here's the brain-stormed options:

1. Technique-based: I could work with a biggish-shot (C/N/S regular) at a prestigious institution two public transit-hours away from Hub's work. I would be working on something different using the technique I do now, which would be a real advantage to be able to troubleshoot my equipment here and branching out with questions and projects for my students. I know the PI, and this person is very nice. Lab seems happy. Have already been invited. Would not learn something entirely new, just more depth.

2. Subject-based: Another PI at same institution studies the same question I do in a different system. This new technique would not be portable to my lab, but I would be able to investigate bigger questions. I would learn a lot more about the entire system I study and be far less reductionistic. Don't know this PI or lab.

3. Prestige-based: At a VERY prestigious institution which has a visiting scientist program WITH housing ($!). The PI seems to be doing very technically-challenging work and getting the pubs to show it. The question is really important and I would love to learn more about it. The institution is pretty close to Hub's work, which means fewer weeks of my or Hub's life lost to the steel cage (driving). Hub's boss describes the PI as "a bear, and not the 'teddy' kind". It may serve to note that of all of my strengths, sheer technical power is not at the top. But I would love to have a pub with that name on it...

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. My vote for prestige-based is mainly because of 1) location, 2) job + housing, and 3) location. That would be cool. Do you think you can handle the bear-PI, knowing you would only have to do it for one year? Location is great and will be a huge change of pace for you - it is "exotic" enough! LOL! Good luck!!