Following the exhilaration of being appointed to one's first job, reality sets in for a new assistant professor. There's a lab to equip and staff, new courses to teach, departmental politics to learn--and, of course, a research program to initiate. Universities often provide start-up funds to a certain extent, but an outside grant is usually essential to give the new scientist's research program the extra momentum it needs to get off the ground.

The search for outside funding gives young scientists intimate acquaintance with the Catch-22 of scientific funding: In order to get a grant, you need results; but to get results, you need money.

"Even if you do get a grant, it's never enough," says Ann Hochschild of Harvard Medical School, who studies the regulation of gene expression. Although Hochschild has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health, she says that most of that money is used...

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