Hooray! ….Oh Man….

July 13, 2007

I have this nasty little habit of checking CRISP for the fruits of our labor on study section. Easy enough to wildcard new grants- woohoo, a couple of really interesting proposals got funded recently. Cool. A little ray of sunshine whilst contemplating several grim results of YHN and selected colleagues from the last few months. Hmm, just for grins, let’s wildcard the 2R%. Crap. Sure enough, a couple of horrible and/or completely useless competing continuations were, um, continued. I hate this system sometimes.

(Title from EldestSpawnofDrugMonkey’s beloved Captain Underpants, of course)

9 Responses to “Hooray! ….Oh Man….”

  1. PhysioProf Says:

    I think you and I share an obsession with grantsmanship and funding issues. I go to CRISP almost every day just to poke around a little bit and see what new has been funded in my field and related fields. Most of my colleagues probably don’t even know what CRISP is.

    Funny story: One of my colleagues–she started as asst prof the same day i did–told me she had received the e-mail telling her that her R01 score was available on eraCommons. So I asked her what the score was. She told me that she was kind of busy with other stuff and so she would probably look at the score “next week”!

    I don’t know about you, but when I know the study section has met, starting the next day, I hit eraCommons every hour until my score is up.

    And speaking of paylines, I received the most recent NINDS funding newsletter, in which they tried to explain why the 2007 “payline” is 9.0%, but the 2007 “success rate” is expected to be about 15%. They claim that a substantial reason is that they are funding new investigator R01s all the way down to 25%. I know that funding new investigators is an important issue, but that seems a bit extreme. Among the other ICs that post their payline policies, the new investigator “bump” is most frequently around 5%, and I don’t thing any have a bump greater than 10%. NINDS is basically going almost three-fold deeper for new investigators than for everyone else.

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  2. drugmonkey Says:

    Your colleague’s mental health is no doubt the better for her ability to not care…

    So with the new investigator “bump”, don’t get too crazy about percentiles. The question is, how many are they picking up by using +5% or 25% or some other mechanism?

    From my limited experience, using 25% for New Investigator applications in a context of 10% for all apps would mean, wait for it, wait for it…. a whopping 1 NI grant versus 0 NI grant funded.

    I don’t sound off about New Investigators getting hosed because I think they should all get free money. Rather, I see that by the time we’re done feeling sorry for A2 apps from greybeards, particularly of the 20yr+ continuation variety, there’s little room left for anything else! So the very best NI proposal (which tends to be objectively (ha!) of very high quality) only comes in around a 160-175 ish, despite protestations of support for “highly promising new investigator”.

    In my view the ICs are not reaching down with a handout for poor quality proposals, rather they are compensating for study section bias. So when you think about things like “three-fold deeper”, well, you have to ask if your score isn’t twice as good simply because you already have a grant (ok, I know you are still pretty early career, but you see my point). I think the ICs make a mistake in trying to operationalize this and certainly in publishing the “correction factor”. Don’t think this is going to affect scores in a circular fashion? Heck yes it is. People make their decisions around a perceived payline and they are perfectly capable of thinking “well, InstituteX is digging way down to 25% for the New Investigators, whoo hoo, I can drop my score on this one by a couple of points and it will still be ok”.

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  3. Neuro-conservative Says:

    PhysioProf — I am like you with CRISP. Have you tried CRISPer? Not always good for one’s mental health, but addictive!

    Speaking of mental health, I doubt your colleague was being really Zen about the process. I think it more likely she already knew her score and was just being cagey — I have several colleagues like that in my department.

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  4. drugmonkey Says:

    Neuro-conservative, thanks for the suggestion, I hadn’t heard of CRISPer before. On a quick look it seems as though the major advance at present is the inclusion of the total budget, something regular CRISP doesn’t provide.

    You’re going to cause more ranting from this direction, you know. Now I can see that not only does HoaryAuldScientistY have 6 R01s but that they are also up around $500K in direct costs….:-P

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  5. PhysioProf Says:

    “I think it more likely she already knew her score and was just being cagey[.]”

    I’m sure not. We are very close friends, and I had helped her extensively with analyzing her previous Summary Statement and revising the application. As soon as she did check the score, she came running to tell me about it (it ended up fundable).

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  6. writedit Says:

    Good heavens. I finally find a little time to rummage around Drugmonkey’s blog and find a bunch of CRISP addicts. Don’t you folks have experiments to run or something? If you want to add a new stop to your obsessive repertoire, you can check the Notice of Grant Awards and award data by state (the source of $ amounts for the Sunshine Project folks) spreadsheets every Monday.

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  7. whimple Says:

    5R01GM000091-62 RAJAGOPALAN, K. Structure And Function Of Enzymes–Role Of Metals renewed in 2004

    Can this really be the 62nd year of this grant?

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  8. drugmonkey Says:

    Why not? NIGMS and Number 91? Probably not the same PI throughout 62 years though…

    Maybe we should have a “stupid CRISP tricks” contest.

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  9. writedit Says:

    Structure & Function of Enzymes – Role of Metals. Feasible topic to keep going for so long. Obviously not 62 years in NIGMS, so it must have been a Type 8 at some point. NIGMS wasn’t authorized until 1962, though the Surgeon General (who created ICs back then) established a a Division of General Medical Sciences in 1958 … still, we’re talking 1945, so it must have been one of the original NCI grants. And you’ll be thrilled to learn, Drugmonkey (though you probably checked this yourself), that it was Type 2 in 1972 (first year of CRISP data) under the same PI at Duke as is listed in 2007.

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