Some person named Buds is fretting about the recent NIH policy which only permits a single revision of an unfunded application.

I have recently been through the “new” submission protocol at NIH. Its an extremely frustrating process. It almost seems that a requirement for “new submission” is that you change your line of investigation…….that you cannot do really, and that what sinks many. My grant (initially not funded at 18th percentile, last attempt) was administratively withdrawn and it seems that once they make up their mind, they wont change it does not matter how you try and point out the differences between the new grant and the old one. Seems like someone else knows your grant better than you do.

So have new sp aims which basically means a new direction of research.

Emphasis added. To point out that this is nonsense. Time to revisit, first of all, NOT-OD-10-080.

A new application is expected to be substantially different in content and scope with more significant differences than are normally encountered in a resubmitted application. A new application should include substantial changes in all sections of the Research Plan, particularly in the Specific Aims and the Research Strategy sections. There should be fundamental changes in the questions being asked and/or the outcomes examined. Changes to the Research Plan should produce a significant change in direction and approach for the research project.

Emphasis added. “More significant differences” in comparison with the original application. Nowhere is this calling for you to do a wholesale revision of your entire direction of research in your laboratory. If you see it this way, perhaps you are writing your Specific Aims too broadly, and your approach reads more like the laboratory program description than a specific project.

So knock that shit off. Now.

The DM and CPP are constantly going on about how you should have multiple grant applications going in at the same time. The only way to do this that I can see is if you manage to describe projects narrowly enough so as to permit breathing room for the other proposals.

And to do that, requires a simple trick in the mind of the PI. Stop thinking of a grant as a contract. The purpose of the grant application is to get funded for a general area of investigation. It is not to dictate your every scientific move for 5 years. Get the money and work on the topic as best you see fit. Given that, it should not be too hard to write up some new Aims and then, if you get lucky, go right ahead and work on what you see fit to work on.

Publish some cool papers and nobody is going to say boo.

After all, the days of competing continuation applications are just about finished.

This is Drug Facts Week, an effort of NIDA to promote understanding of the effects of recreational drugs. Although I’m slightly busy with other matters, I wanted to participate, partially, with a series of re-posts. This post originally appeared April 6, 2008; I was reminded of it by a tweet from A3Addiction.

This week’s fax from the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland touches on an issue of continual interest, namely the determination of “how addictive” different drugs of abuse may be. As I have mentioned a time or two (or three) before, I believe this is an area where the scientific research tends to skirt a key issue. From my perspective, this is one of the hardest questions to answer on the basis of the available human data and the animal models tend to drive right over the essential concepts.
This week’s CESAR fax (sign up here) reports rates of discontinuation, continued use without dependence and dependence for most major drugs of abuse. These data can help us to answer the question of “how addictive” are various recreational drugs.

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