Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Adventures in Creative Writing

Apparently there is something called a "facilities statement" that is included in grant proposals. The idea is that your organization describes all the resources at its disposal in hopes of impressing the grant-giving agency and convincing them that you can carry out the impressive research that you are describing.

My boss sent me a copy of the facilities statement for the campus where we are located. It goes on about however many acres of land, this many buildings, laboratory space whose square footage adds up to the equivalent of a bunch of Super WalMarts, power generation facilities, and other details of the infrastructure.

And, amusingly, some of the details are conspicuously missing. Apparently someone decided that a paragraph on "cyber security" was necessary, so the example document that I was sent has this:
An integrated cyber security plan encompasses all aspects of computing. Cyber security plans are risk-based. Separate systems of differing security requirements allow the appropriate level of protection for each system, while not hindering the science needs of the projects.
Now my task is to write a facilities statement for our research group. This should be pretty interesting because although we do have a supercomputer, we don't have much else. We don't have any office space. People who are part-time on this project just use their offices from their other part; people who are full-time on this project are fit into cubicles wherever there is space. (For example, my "office" is a cubicle amongst computer science TAs.) We share a laser printer with another research group, and we don't have a photocopier. I'm pretty sure that we don't even have a stapler. Heck, I bought my own business cards from moo.com.

I guess I will have to take a page from the cyber security plan and use a bunch of words to say nothing.