January 20, 2011
It is only through internet comments that I am realizing how much stupid, idiotic, dumbfuck information about the NIH grant process floats around out there. and why being at East Jezuz State University may be a serious handicap for a newbie Assistant Professor that wants to get a grant. The people that I was around as a newly independent investigator may have had some perspectives warped by their own experiences from long ago. But they were never full of flat out wrong shit like this.
..some of the faculty at my institution told my mentor that a code 44 is the kiss of death to applications.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG!!!!!!!
If you see a Vertebrate Animals or Human Subjects mention on your summary statement that is a bar to funding, all this means (in most cases) is that you have to fix the text of what you wrote in your application. It is not typically an actual objection to what you are doing or planning to do, you just didn’t describe it well. Or even if it IS more substantive, FIX IT!
If you got a score that is otherwise good enough to fund, there will be an internal review process of your revised sections. Assuming that goes well, you are good to go.
Anyone who claims that it is an automatic prevention of funding needs some re-education.
September 4, 2010
In the NIH Grant writing game I think it is fair to say that most people are used to describing what they actually plan to do, experimentally, across the proposed course of funding. The application contains something resembling specific experiments or sets of experiments and the order or priority for conducting those experiments. I have been trained to make this very specific for most of my grants. Read the rest of this entry »
July 21, 2010
After NIGMS Director Berg notified me of his most recent regression analysis of the individual criterion scores, the good Comrade PhysioProf had a conversation. As is our wont. It went something like this.
Comrade PhysioProf: The most interesting thing of all the correlations was that investigator and environment are so highly correlated.
Your Humble Narrator: I’m not really surprised. I find environment to be a throw away consideration on panels I’ve been on. people don’t generally propose to do something for which major infrastructure is absent!
CPP: On my last R01 review and my post-doc’s NRSA, they waxed poetic about the fucking environment. In the applications, we went on and on about the scientific environment and named a number of specific faculty members whose expertise would be drawn upon blah, blah, blah. I think that shit can actually work.
YHN: Christ what a load of shit
CPP: Dude, it’s true! We have an outstanding environment! The food trucks outside the med school are some of the finest in all of biomedical research!
CPP: How funny would it be to actually put that in the facilities sections of an application? “The “Alibertos” food truck is only steps away from our laboratory and provides a level of energy dense food that contributes substantially to the likelihood of success of the proposed specific aims.”
YHN: “The “Alibertos” truck returns in evening hours at 6 and 10 pm so that trainees need not leave the lab until 12pm, thus maximizing throughput for these studies”
CPP: I just looked at the instructions for the new application format, and that would actually go in the “Resources” section.
YHN: HAHHAHHAHAAAHAH, you are such a grant geek!!!!!
Additional Reading: http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2009/12/how_critical_is_the_environmen.php
July 21, 2010
A principal component analysis reveals that a single principal component accounts for 71% of the variance in the overall impact scores. This principal component includes substantial contributions from all five criterion scores, with weights of 0.57 for approach, 0.48 for innovation, 0.44 for significance, 0.36 for investigator and 0.35 for environment.
July 9, 2010
Some Twitt was asking about the importance of a Biosketch to the reviewer of a grant proposal.
Do referent letters, academic record, biosketch etc influence the application-or do you focus on the proposed research plan?
The NIH Biosketch sample Word doc file will give you an overview of the necessary components for their applications. Other funding agencies may vary in terms of what is listed so I don’t want to focus exclusively on the specific rules for NIH. Still, it is my major frame of reference.
The current NIH biosketch format leads off with a Personal Statement. This is new within the past year and nobody knows exactly how to approach this. My suggestion is that you view this as the place to write a reviewer’s bullet points on the “Investigator” review criterion for her.
As a reviewer that makes my job a bit easier but I’m not really looking at this very hard. Perhaps because it is so new.
Instead, my eye is drawn to the section that lists your employment / training stops, etc. My response to the original question is that this is highly important. I go to this either first or second (after the Specific Aims page)-not counting the title and abstract. My goal is to try to get a feel for who you are as an investigator. What your background is, what your training is…in short who you are as a scientist. (Reader whimple’s head is exploding right now.)
Why? Because it is only fair. If there is a name on the PI slot that I recognize, I already have all this information in my head. I automatically start making my adjustments, particularly when it comes to younger and less well-established investigators, in how I read the plan. If I do not recognize the name, I should try to get myself up to speed on who she is. It is, after an an explicit review criterion in the NIH system of funding.
The next section I glance at is the history of funding. If it is an Early Stage Investigator I am looking for evidence of having non-NIH research awards. The goal here is to build an argument if someone starts off on the “untried newbie” StockCritique. It helps the favorably inclined reviewer (if that is what I end up being) to have some evidence of other research projects, even if small.
If an established investigator is the PI, I glance at it but not because I think I need evidence of overwhelming support or anything. Just to orient.
Then I look at the pubs. Why come to these last? Because the frequency of pubs, frequency of first authorships, number of two-author versus multi-author and the level of journal depends to large degree on the subfield. One should calibrate ones assessment of “a productive scientist” to the demands and traditions of the subfield to the extent one can. Also to the career tenure and even the type of employment. A PI at a primarily teaching University should not be held to the same standard as someone in a research-exclusive job category.
December 3, 2008
moar funny pictures
January 18, 2008
The public is invited to review this draft plan and provide comments via email to email@example.com or mail to:
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Attn: Draft Strategic Plan
6001 Executive Blvd.
Suite 5213, MSC 9561
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Comments must be emailed or postmarked by February 6, 2008.
January 15, 2008
A recent reader discussion touching on scientist compensation has blown up on a prior post. Bill (no, not that Bill) and whimple have been leading the charge. To add another data point we have the current NIH Notice on Salary Limitation on Grants, etc. The money quote is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »
January 7, 2008
Abel Pharmboy of Terra Sigillata has a recent post covering Sol Snyder’s NEJM commentary (currently free) on finding god in the brain, an overview of some neuroscience thinking on religiosity. Abel and Sol both touch on a 2006 study by Roland Griffiths and colleagues [available to all from the MAPS site here] which reported on a study of the “mystical-type” experiences of humans following a dose of psilocybin. I’ll try to expand a bit on this since it was a very interesting study in many ways. Even though this is a bit dated by now, I wasn’t blogging back then so I’ll give it a whack. It should be obvious where this touches on some of my own scientific interests. Read the rest of this entry »
January 4, 2008
Beginning February 5, 2008 the alternate submission and review procedures, described below, will be available for appointed members of NIH Study Sections. This alternate process is limited to 1) appointed members of chartered standing Study Sections and 2) applications that would normally be received on standard submission dates (but not special receipt dates). Depending on the timing of the submission and the number of other similar applications received during the pre-meeting time window, NIH staff will decide if the application will be reviewed in a different standing Study Section or in a Special Emphasis Panel (SEP). These applications will be processed and assigned to NIH Institute Review Offices or CSR Integrated Review Groups (IRGs) using the standard referral guidelines
No sign of the types of limitations implied by the prior “pilot” language. This seems to be CSR wide and has reasonably broad inclusion criteria: Read the rest of this entry »
December 20, 2007
December 11, 2007
Being the GoodLittleMonkey that I am (also very Curious, which we’ll get to), I’ve been using the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) to deposit a manuscript or so into PubMed Central, as mandated by NIH. Although to submit a manuscript you will have to log in as some sort of authenticated user, mostly this will mean through your eRA Commons login, I think one can use the Grant Lookup tool without logging in
It is stone simple. Click on it and you will see a little dialog with fields for First Name / Last Name and Grant #. Partial text is treated as wild card as far as I can tell. All you seem to be able to get is the grant title, this is not linked to abstract or anything. So why bother?
I noticed that there are some things that come up here that cannot be found on CRISP, mostly very recent funding stuff. And it is very strange as you can get somethings via PI last name that you can’t get by grant number wildcarding.
December 11, 2007
In a couple of comments to a recent post, people were exploring the concept of whether it matters if a particular individual is funded to do something since perhaps the other competing, well-funded labs will just do it anyway (start with this one). I would argue that this is wishful thinking. While there is some truth to the idea that only by accumulating a big pile of resources is one free enough to play around and take risks, established programs have a tendency to get conservative. So breaking up OldBoy type cronyism is a good goal.
As luck would have it, we have two RFAs (one doubles up for different mechanisms which is necessary with the new and idiotic grant packages) and a Program Announcement (with Set Aside Funding; “PAS”) from NIDA that let us pursue this a little more. Read the rest of this entry »
December 7, 2007
The DM recently used the pejorative term “boondoggle” (Wikipedia, fwiw) to refer to the larger NIH funding mechanisms like Centers and Program Projects (the “P Series“, a comprehensive list of NIH mechanisms is here).
What think you all? If you’ve been funded under or associated with one of these things, what are your takes? Good thing? Bad thing? Do you see consistent trouble spots for their operation?
Are they a big ol’ waste as DM seems to think?
December 7, 2007
We’ve been discussing the degree to which insular sub-groupings of scientists protect and maintain themselves and their peers through the grant review process. We’re using “bunny hopping” thanks to whimple and the NIH CSR calls this “clustering“. Note upfront that this analysis and discussion does not necessarily require overt malicious intent on anyone’s part. The presentation at the recent PRAC meeting from Don Schneider identified the IFCN (Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience) group of study sections as top suspects in the “clustering” phenomenon. Can we derive a little more information one wonders? Read the rest of this entry »