The Director of NINDS just sent an e-mail containing the most specific guidance to date concerning NINDS’s plans for use of stimulus funds. Since it does not appear that this message is up yet on the NINDS Web site, I am copy-pasting the entire thing inside the crack.
Notable points include:
(1) R01s, R21s, R03s, and R15s between 11 and 25 %ile from the pool of applications that would have been awarded 2009 fiscal year funds will be considered for two years of funding.
(2) R01s requesting more than two years of funding that are considered for funding for two years will be subject to renegotiation of Aims and budget with program.
(3) New Investigators will not be considered for two-year stimulus funding, but “most” new investigators in the 11 to 25 %ile range will be funded for the requested number of years “as we did last year”.
(4) There will be a trans-NIH targeted supplement program.
(5) Although there will not be funds set aside specifically for SBIR applications, small businesses are eligible to submit Challenge Grant applications to compete for the general pool of funds.
(6) NINDS does not encourage new investigators to apply for Challenge Grants.

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Comrade PhysioProf won this beautiful painting by Jessica Palmer–who is also the blogger known as Bioephemera–with the biggest Donors Choose donation to her blog’s challenge. It was matted and framed by an awesome fucking frame shop in the neighborhood. w00t!
UPDATE: Here is the artist’s annotation written by Jessica:

Well, the medium is watercolor. There may be a tiny bit of gouache in the details on the bubbles and so on, and pencil for the sketch. I wanted to do a cephalopod for this contest because it’s a theme of my blog, but the last one I did was really bright and science-fictiony. I wanted to go a different, more organic direction and paint an art nouveau style cephalopod, such as you might find in a stained glass window or on a piece of enamelled jewelry.
The unusual palette was partly inspired by a Daniel Merriam painting I had seen, and partly by a grungy patina on a collage.I originally was going to have grungy letters and numbers layered in the painting – I was thinking of a submarine or something – but as I proceeded the painting was just too organic and flowing for that to work. So I ended up embedding a Shakespeare quote in the background of the piece – Ariel’s song from The Tempest,
Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
which came to mind as I was painting, in part because of the coral color of the octopus, but mostly because I’ve always been kind of fascinated with those lines. I wanted the painting to be sumptuous in its curves and detail (rich), but still surreal and dreamlike (strange). (I was emphatically trying NOT to think of Hitchcock’s “Rich and Strange,” which is a terrible film.) I was also thinking while painting this of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who drowned young. (It turns out the boat he wrecked in was named “Ariel”; I did not find this out until after I finished the painting. Odd.)
Meaning – well, a cephalopod is a changeable creature – changing shape and color freely – so it seemed like the right critter to represent a theme of transformation, especially timeless transformation, with its tentacles making little infinity loops and spirals all over the place. I envision this octopus as a sort of wise dragon of the deep, guarding its treasure of bones and coral and pearls and whatever else is down there decaying away in slow motion (including Shelley). But it could mean something quite different to someone else. I don’t think the artist has a special privilege when it comes to interpreting the artwork.

There is a post over at Blue Lab Coats that reminded me that I’ve lamely neglected to pick up on a tip from the incomparable writedit (sorry dude). drdrA notes:

I found this article late last week, at Inside Higher Ed… entitled “The Black-Box of Peer Review“, about a new book by Michele Lamont entitled ” How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment“. I’m looking forward to reading this book… when I can get my hands on it and have a bit of spare time (insert big laugh here)

Now it is a little disappointing that the book author did not manage to get into some NIH study sections when doing her research. Still, I imagine the principles generalize very well so the only lack here is the convincing testament to my assumption on this. Would have been nice. Now, I mostly had PhysioProf’s response on this one but doubledoc did identify a point of interest to me in her overview of the author’s points on what has been found lacking in peer review:

Favoritism for work similar to one’s own… or for some personal interest (other than direct personal ties).

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