I used to do research, now I teach
I've been an Assistant Professor for just over three years at a new medical school without a strong research track record. Despite that, many of our faculty are given start-up packages to initiate research. I've found that this is helpful in recruitment, but extramural funding has been non-existent. It's not without trying. Many of our faculty publish regularly, they review papers and grants, and they have had success at past institutions. We are just not competitive in this environment.
I'm nearing the end of my start-up funds and I have already received two bridge awards that will likely not be awarded again. I don't see the light at the end of the research tunnel. I will be able to publish a few more papers with the remaining data I have, and I will be able to revise and resubmit the handful of grant applications I have put together over the years, although I am skeptical that this effort will translate into an externally funded research enterprise.
Luckily, I have had the opportunity to take on a major role in teaching over the past three years and this role has grown as a senior mentor is retiring. Our institution takes medical education seriously and we are commended for teaching well. This role also comes with administrative responsibilities.
I am eyeing the future and seriously considering a discussion with my Department Chair about switching from research to education tracks. I would like to be proactive about this and "take life into my own hands". I realize that my research program will not last. I have an opportunity to carve a niche for myself and excel at teaching. We will see what the future holds.
I don't have so many questions, rather than a desire to post my thoughts for those who are navigating these difficult waters. I don't think I am alone. Research dollars are becoming scarce outside of major research universities. Success and happiness requires a bit of practicality and humility.