Grant Support Entry on CV: Include the $$ or Not?

August 25, 2008

A correspondent asked me a question that seemed simple at first but the more I think on it, the more I realize I have very little insight. The research scientist’s Curriculum Vitae (CV; similar to a résumé) contains a listing of several critical elements including scientific publications, educational degrees (bachelor’s and beyond), academic appointments and selected types of scholarly/professional activity. It is also common to include a list of current and previous grant support. This latter would typically include the source of the award, one’s role on the award, the title of the award and perhaps a small statement on the goals of the project.
The question was: “Do you include the amount of grant money that has been awarded”?

I do not typically do so although there is a specific type of internal institutional type of recitation of my standing that insists on the dollar figure. [ Surprising, I know, that one’s institution would want the amount of money one is worth front and center. ] I have, however, seen this on people’s CVs that they circulate for an upcoming seminar visit, posted on the Web, job applications, etc.
So first of all, DearReader, what practices do you observe or have you been advised to adopt? Include the cash value or not? Why or why not? For that matter, why is this information left off of the CRISP report on grants. After all, the information is public and the now-defunct CRISP-er project managed to link the NIH award $$ with the projects.
PIs would having the funding amount for your projects on your CV or available on CRISP be a good thing? Neutral? Give you the heebie-jeebies?
I find myself on the heebie-jeebies side of things and I can’t really come up with a reason why…..

No Responses Yet to “Grant Support Entry on CV: Include the $$ or Not?”

  1. PhysioProf Says:

    I really don’t see why anyone would give a shit one way or the other. The existence and dollar amount of every NIH grant award are easily obtainable from the NIH Web site.


  2. Lorax Says:

    I think it depends. If you are trying to demonstrate you are bringing in real dollars to an institution, such as at tenure, include the money. If you are just documenting your ability to land grants, its not necessary. Also, I think tacitly this post is NIH focused where its common knowledge that an RO1 is 200-250,000 in general, an R21 is 175,000, etc. However, USDA, DOE, private foundations (GATES, Pew, Serle, etc) may be relatively unknown in a department and may necessitate mentioning a dollar amount. Finally, CRISP may not include dollar amounts, because actually dollars given are often different from amount “awarded” and can also change from year to year (at least mine have thanks to budget cuts).
    *2 cents on the table*


  3. PhysioProf Says:

    Actual awarded dollar amounts of all NIH grant awards can be accessed via this page:


  4. Our institution has an ‘official’ CV form, used to evaluate us for raises, promotions, etc. This explicitly specifies that we provide the grant $$.
    In general, unless the amounts are pathetically small I include them in CVs that I want to indicate my effectiveness as a researcher (e.g. job applications), but not if the CV just provides a description of what I’ve accomplished (e.g. background for a special guest lectureship).


  5. Ewan Says:

    I got VERY strong advice both ways on this when I was on the market last year. The general split was that med school folk though putting $$ amounts was somewhat crass; basic science folk thought I would be insane not to show that I could bring in actual money.
    Given that I thought that the funding was a strong point of my vita, I went with adding in the numbers; I have heard since from several of the places I interviewed that this was a BIG deal in terms of making me attractive to the committees. So I would say, in the context of R1 research jobs, definitely go for it. [Possibly crudely summarised as ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it”!]


  6. neurolover Says:

    So, why isn’t this info available in CRISP?
    And, I’m guessing this is both direct & indirects in the grant amounts?
    (The exchange of information the internet makes possible is really truly amazing)


  7. PhysioProf Says:

    And, I’m guessing this is both direct & indirects in the grant amounts?

    Correct. It is total award amount.


  8. SD Says:

    The shameless self-promotion of job applications didn’t come easily to me, but I didn’t even blink at adding in the grant amounts. The amounts are the cold, hard facts about what funding agencies think of your work and potential… unlike all the spin and confident phrasing you have to write into your cover letter and interest statements.


  9. River Tam Says:

    It’s pretty standard in ecology to list dollar amounts for grants, regardless of whether it is the web version of your CV or the job application version.


  10. ScienceWoman Says:

    What Ewan, SD, and River Tam said. I felt like my experience writing successful (and real $) grants as a graduate student post-doc was a bonus for me. In every interview, the dean would bring it up as being impressive.
    What counts at a research institution? Pubs and money. I think we could probably draw an analogy between the two – leaving off $ is like leaving off journal titles from your pubs on your CV.


  11. drdrA Says:

    You sure that’s the total award amount- directs and indirects?? That doesn’t seem right to me because just in looking at a couple from people that I know that are R21s- if this ## is the direct and indirect these people are only getting 50% of the allowable annual direct of 175. That doesn’t seem right.


  12. drdrA Says:

    And one more thing (actually on the topic of the post)… I say show them the money. Why? Come on- we all know what promotion in this business is about- I don’t like this fact of life, but it is what it is. And this, from a person who was raised to believe that one never discussed money in polite company…


  13. PhysioProf Says:

    It is absolutely definitely the total award amount for that year.


  14. neurolover Says:

    I think a better question is when (rather than if) should you list grant amounts. I think it’s clear that amounts should be listed for job applications/promotion decisions . . . . I think they’re iffier for the CV you hand give to people when they’re inviting you for a seminar, or other softer promotion items. But, that CV should be a modified version anyway, right? one that doesn’t, for example, list all your abstracts.


  15. drdrA Says:

    Yeah- I double checked just because.


  16. yolio Says:

    I find the “crass” argument fascinating. The amount of a grant is closely related to the cost of the type of research you do, and so I don’t agree that it is quite so simple as “this is what the funding agency thinks of you.” It is instead a simple fact about the logistics of your job. It says something about how much trust and responsibility you have earned, but obliquely, and it doesn’t give the whole picture.
    The underlying logic here is that your “income” is a measure of your value as a human being—and thus it is crass to point out that you are worth more than others. Since I reject the first logic, the idea of crassness doesn’t occur to me.


  17. DrugMonkey Says:

    the CV you hand give to people when they’re inviting you for a seminar, … that CV should be a modified version anyway, right? one that doesn’t, for example, list all your abstracts.
    IME, the CV sent around the department the week before the seminar speaker arrives is the FullMonty CV.
    yolio @#17, this thread over at doubledoc’s place might be of interest


  18. neurolover Says:

    Hmh, I can’t quite get PP’s link to reconcile with CRISP. I’ve found at least 2 folks who appear to have current grants in CRISP who don’t appear in the text data in PP’s link. Why?


  19. whimple Says:

    …could be crisp showing “no-cost extensions” a.k.a. “grant not renewed”


  20. DrugMonkey Says:

    or could be too recently funded? or components of big mechanisms?


  21. neurolover Says:

    nope to the three suggestions above. I also checked for misspelling of the name. But, I think a remaining possibility is that their grants were mis-assigned to a different state (i.e. a typo. But, 2/10 or so that I checked for isn’t a very good error rate.
    (and, yes, these kinds of discrepancies keep me up at night worrying about my data, too)


  22. TomJoe Says:

    I don’t see the heebie-jeebie factor in making known the dollar amounts on tax-payer funded projects. It’s called accountability.


  23. DrugMonkey Says:

    It’s called accountability.
    Not really in the context of the CV. As pointed out upthread, the dollar figures are public information for anyone who is interested in accountability for tax-payer dollars. The context of the CV is mostly about bragging on one’s academic credentials, not about being accountable for the $$ you’ve spent on research.
    Interestingly, the one place where this might be most relevant is discussions of “progress” in grant review. It comes up with competing continuations (has the prior funding interval produced?) and in just any-old submission (does the PI have a productive track record?). Dollar amounts are (I think) explicitly to be left off of the biosketch (the NIH-grant version of a CV).
    As is under discussion over at drdrA’s, two “R01” awards might easily differ in $$ by a factor of 2. Should an R01 funded for $498,765 in direct costs be evaluated essentially the same as one for $225,000?
    That never really comes up in review.


  24. neurolover Says:

    “Should an R01 funded for $498,765 in direct costs be evaluated essentially the same as one for $225,000? ”
    I’d think so, ’cause my presumption would be that the costs of the two projects were intrinsically different from one another. I mean, the fact that you might be able to publish 50 papers on, oh, a wasp motorneuron for the price of one paper about the trajectory of alzheimer’s symptoms shouldn’t make you pick the wasp project, no?


  25. DrugMonkey Says:

    While it is true that sometimes there are basic categorical distinctions (human versus tissue culture versus multiple mouse strains versus…) causing a difference in the cost of doing business oftentimes the difference is more debatable. Such as a big list of extra people where another grant might just be one tech, one postdoc, 20% PI. In one way of looking at it, a one-paper-per-year-per-postdoc rate might be a decent output. A modular-cap grant produces 5 papers where a half-mil-cap grant produces 10. Equally productive by the number of postdocs supported, say. Yet I guarantee you that in my study section the big grant will be described as more productive. Same way that the total number of awards held by the lab are never discussed when considering the total number of papers produced.


  26. Sorry to come in so late.
    My vote has been to include the dollar values particularly for those investigators who may be successful in securing funding from less traditional sources. For example, people like us know exactly what a R01 is but can you tell me whether a SC1 or SC2 is more substantive?
    In my field, there is such a variety of Dept of Defense funding for various cancers that some may be $50-75K/yr four-pagers or $150-250K R01-type awards. In another case, you may not think that a Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute grant is a big deal, but these are pretty competitive and pretty impressive when you learn they fund at about the level of a R21.
    Another reason for listing the dollars is actually to avoid being perceived as overinflating one’s stature, i.e., to clarify one’s relative role on a multi-investigator award like a P01 program project. These may be >$1 million but one should indicate whether their part is a $250K R01 equivalent or maybe a $30K core consultant role.
    I worry about this stuff more for promotion and tenure or job-searching purposes than I do for info given to your seminar hosts.


  27. PhysioProf Says:

    In one way of looking at it, a one-paper-per-year-per-postdoc rate might be a decent output.

    Dude, you do get that this is totally field- and subfield-specific, right? In some fields, a post-doc works for five years, gets one Cell paper, and waltzes into a tenure-track position with a huge start-up.


  28. DrugMonkey Says:

    d00d, you do get that that was totally an example, right? The argument scales effectively, holmes…..


  29. PhysioProf Says:

    Holmes, I agree with your argument. I just wanted to make it clear that your example was just that.


  30. neurolover Says:

    What? a mod grant is supposed to produce 5 papers/year? And, really, there are fields where one cell paper constitutes a post-doc? I’m in a slow-moving field, but folks still usually have more than one paper from a 5 year post-doc (though the papers might not appear until after they’ve danced into the tenure track position with a huge startup.


  31. DrugMonkey Says:

    neurolover, as I was saying to PP, this is just an example. Take whatever typical output rate / journal quality benchmark you think is appropriate for your field. I guarantee you that there is a positive relationship between amount of grant $$ held by the lab and the productivity when you are comparing apple labs to apple labs (similar in domain and teh hawt, differing in size).
    My point is that when assessing productivity of a labgroup, people have a tendency to ignore the funding factor. To compare the output from “one grant” ignoring the fact that JuniorMint has one $225K R01, period.
    And that Professor Bluehair has one $452,987 R01 supporting two postdocs and two techs, a K05 salary support award, two postdocs on NRSAs, two postdocs on institutional training grants….


  32. NM Says:

    “one-paper-per-year-per-postdoc rate”
    You are kidding, right?
    One paper per year would get my arse fired. I am not joking. If I were that unproductive I would lose my job.


  33. NM Says:

    Sorry- Think, then post, NM.
    As other commentators have pointed out publication rate is field and sub-field specific. Plus I’m lucky enought to be in the right place and time to publish as fast as I am able to write. Still 1 paper a year over the long-term does seem a little slow if your doing most type of work that doesn’t require observation over periods longer than a year?
    Is it worth instead discussing productivity in terms of (Impact Factors*Number of papers) perhaps? It’s crude of course but clearly a NEJM (or here CNS) paper is far more important than sub-specialty IF=2.0 papers. Unless your IF=2.0 paper has been cited 50 times a year since, of course.
    As for listing dollar amounts- not all grants are NIH and not all have public information sites. So for a full CV the listing of the grant amount doesn’t strike me as being superfluous. My university routinley lists the grants and amounts on the website page for each faculty member and does so ahead of the publication list.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: