Faculty Job Application Research Plans (UPDATED)

December 12, 2010

I am serving on a faculty search committee right now and reading a bunch of applications. Some of these fucken dipshitte applicants are providing research plans–the summary of current research and future directions to be taken when the applicant starts her own labbe–that are nearly fifteen motherfucken pages long with nearly one hundred motherfucken references to the literature. Who the fucken fucke is telling these poor fuckes that this is reasonable!?!?!?!?

A research plan should be an absolute maximum of three pages, including the references list. If you can’t explain why I should give a fucke about your research in three pages or less, then I probably *shouldn’t* give a fucke.

UPDATE: Effective research plans *do* have a few figures–three or four–frequently including model schematics, as well as a modest number of references (fewer than ten). The point is to make it as easy and efficient as possible for the reader to get the gist of what your research is all about and why it is going to exert a sustained substantial impact on your field.

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15 Responses to “Faculty Job Application Research Plans (UPDATED)”

  1. pinus Says:

    I told a person that you should do 2 pages tops. he scoffed at me and said he needed at least 5.

  2. negroniplease Says:

    FIFTEEN??? Mine’s two and a third.

  3. gerty-z Says:

    YES! I actually saw some this year that had MORE THAN 1 future research plan, each >5 pg long. WTF? Did someone tell them this was OK.


  4. One candidate dropped off, I shit you not, a fucking binder for their future research plan.


  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Drug Monkey, Gerty-Z. Gerty-Z said: READ THS! RT @drugmonkeyblog: on the proper length of the research plan for a faculty job application http://bit.ly/gMPYaO […]

  6. jc Says:

    I was told that “more words is better” by a “mentor”.

    I saw one that had figures 1-6 included. It was about 10 pages.

  7. CoR Says:

    References, really? Big fucking oops on my part then.

  8. NatC Says:

    @CoR: I’m with you.
    Also, figures??

  9. CoR Says:

    Well I did the figures thing. Just 2. Nicely styled. Otherwise, refs were (O’Rad et al 2008, etc) in text, but full citations were not included. I figure the citations were on my CV? None of the buggers that proofread my apps coupla years ago said any to the wiser…

  10. Spiny Norman Says:

    I had two. I got a job. And no fucking figures, either. Why? Because I can fucking write, that’s why.

  11. Spiny Norman Says:

    References are totally dispensable for this purpose. And yes I am on a search committee this year. Don’t worry about it.

  12. Spiny Norman Says:

    Another thing: there were a couple of fucknuggets who put figures in that — even when enlarged to FIVE HUNDRED FUCKING PERCENT — were unreadable. What, you little fucks thought we weren’t actually going to read these fucking things, and that we’d be impressed by your colorful microscopic unreadable diagrams? Well, guess what? You fucked up: you demonstrated only that you’re a bullshit artist.

  13. Spiny Norman Says:

    More than 3 pages is a bad idea. More than six is suicide.

  14. Sxydocma1 Says:

    This is the best advice I’ve gotten to date. I love you CPP.

  15. Cycloprof Says:

    WTF-more words is better?! if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit?


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