Is the NIH trying to get rid of smaller laboratories?

January 25, 2011

In a recent comment thread Comrade PhysioProf revisited a claim or insinuation he’s made before.

These changes–like almost all of the enhancing peer review changes–are really designed to hasten attrition of substantial numbers of marginal PIs/insitutions that were attracted into the system during the budget doubling of the late 90s/early 00s. These people/institutions need to be flushed from the system so that success rates can normalize.
Of course, this kind of plan cannot be openly sold to Congress, so it is packaged as “enhancing peer review” and “funding grants sooner”, but it is really all about making it easier for quality investigators to get their grants and more difficult for marginal investigators. If you were the kind of investigator who could never get a grant funded until you had been beaten to an A2 by study section, or who needed 25 full pages of preliminary data to convince a study section to fund your boring/incremental science, now you’re never gonna get a grant and you’re gonna be flushed.

He’s talking about me, so naturally I take umbrage at this assertion.


Now naturally CPP’s statement contains a bit of the usual hyperbole. Fact is, many investigators of apparent high and low status, “incremental” and GlamourMagEleventy!!1!!11!! quality and of name recognized and unrecognized Universities end up getting grants awarded on the A2 submission with copious preliminary data. These self-same people get other grants awarded on basically one cool hypothesis or finding and with the slimmest amounts of backing data. Similarly, all of the above get funded with 26th %ile pickups…and 2%ile slam dunks. The notion that there are labs of any type of sustained duration (read, multiple awards) that only ever get awards on the skin of their teeth and others that always get 1%ile scores on their first submission is a nice fantasy but generally speaking, as false as can be.
After a little back and forth, however, I was able to elicit something like a testable hypothesis out of CPP.

What do you thinke is the ultimate long-term goal of the “enhancing peer review” initiative to fund the “best” science with the highest “overall impact”? What do you think is the reason for the NCRR shitcanning? What do you think is the purpose and outcome of initiatives like K99/R00, Young Innovator, Director’s Pioneer, CTSA, more generous paylines for ESIs but not NIs, shortened applications, more telegraphic summary statements? How much money actually gets spent on R15s versus CTSAs?

Emphasis added. Well, the point about $$ being sent is a little precious since Clinical and Translational Science Awards are HUGELY expensive because:

…the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) program creates a definable academic home for clinical and translational research. CTSA institutions work to transform the local, regional, and national environment to increase the efficiency and speed of clinical and translational research across the country.
This consortium includes 55 medical research institutions located throughout the nation. When fully implemented by 2011, about 60 institutions will be linked together to energize the discipline of clinical and translational science. The CTSA consortium is funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Whatevs. What I am interested in, however, are the number of awards being made. So I cruised over the RePORTER for a little wildcard searching by fiscal year for new grant awards. The comparisons across mechanism are a little weird since R15s seem to be awarded as new (i.e., 1R15) grants even when two years of support were awarded in the original submission (I’m not totally clear on this). Also, for the larger mechanisms, Cores and components have their own listing which inflates the hit count.

R15BigAwards.png

R15 awards were totally flat across the interval that I think of as the tail end of the salad days, into the great collapse and trended upward as we hit ARRA.
Program project awards (P01) and one type of Center (P50) are variable but if anything the trend is downward from the end of the Doubling interval.
The CTSA (U54) awards in 2008-2010 are increasing, of course. (Not sure what they used the U54 mechanism for before they invented the CTSA. Perhaps the old General Clinical Research Center program?)
At any rate, there is no evidence that the mechanism dedicated to funding research at institutions which have $6M or less in research grants in at least 4 of the past 7 fiscal years is being “shitcanned”.

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52 Responses to “Is the NIH trying to get rid of smaller laboratories?”

  1. Eli Rabett Says:

    What part of EPSCoR don;t you assholes capiche??

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  2. M. Lee Says:

    Small labs are already dead.

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  3. DrugMonkey Says:

    Evidence, M.Lee?
    R15s are going to smaller labs only, pretty decent sign of no-change in the graph. From my own subfield, I see plenty of R01s still being awarded to the small fry.
    How about it readership? Do you have first hand examples from your departments and sub-sub-fields of smaller labs losing funding and closing up shop?

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  4. I went to a SLAC that had INBRE/EPSCoR $ for which they used to hire new faculty and give a little boost to existing faculty. After the initial drunk spending and when funding ran out, most of these labs are shriveling up and dying. I am also seeing more and more folks at my current institution who only have one major award (R01, etc) getting knocked out of the game. It only appears that labs with multiple balls in the air are able to survive this increasingly difficult funding climate.

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  5. anon Says:

    DM (#3)-
    Yes. I was an asst prof and lost my lab and position from lack of funding from the NIH (I have funding from other sources, but they weren’t good enough…). Other asst profs also had to leave and were not being replaced. I made a move to a better institution, but to a non-TT position. The department I’m in (large dept in the med school) is no longer hiring young fry to start small. Instead, they are seeking well-funded, well-established crusty old profs with large empires. I don’t see how that’s sustainable.

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  6. whimple Says:

    Do you have first hand examples from your departments and sub-sub-fields of smaller labs losing funding and closing up shop?
    Also yes. In my opinion moving everyone to soft money and firing underfunded faculty of any career stage is inevitable.

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  7. anon Says:

    whimple – it seems the bar for “underfunded” is becoming higher. It’s no longer enough to be making contributions as a small group (and this by no means suggests that the contributions are limited to ‘incremental’ shit as physioprof implies).

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  8. What I am interested in, however, are the number of awards being made.

    Dude, you gotta lay offe the fucken government ditcheweede. The R15 mechanism doesn’t *need* to be shitcanned, because it is suche a trivial amount of money as to be insignificant. Are you really so fucken clueless as to look for the priorities of the NIH by counting the *number* of awards and not following the motherfucken money?

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  9. mygraduationday Says:

    Yes, many examples of labs losing funding and closing shop here in this EPSCoR/IDEA/NCRR state school. The IDEA/COBRE program supported a number of young investigators who, when their COBRE funding ran out, were not competitive in the larger R01 pool. Sitting on study section, I have seen some of these post-COBRE R01 applications and they are generally not up to par either in ideas or publications. I see that a RFA is out for $10M new COBRE awards and $15M in Phase III (years 11-15 COBRE continuations), so this program is continuing and is a political animal.

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  10. I see that a RFA is out for $10M new COBRE awards and $15M in Phase III (years 11-15 COBRE continuations), so this program is continuing and is a political animal.

    It’s a *purely* political animal, because that amount of money is a JOKE. *Each* CTSA award is tens of millions of dollars, and there are several dozen of them around the country.

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  11. DrugMonkey Says:

    So has the average amount of the R15 changed systematically PP?
    Are all of these COBRE awards being scaled back? Anyone?
    Eli, I make it pretty clear I know little about NSF matters, thanks for the mention of EPSCoR. Nice to learn about that.
    anon @#5, it may be that Universities are not interested in sustainability but rather in making the safest bet for the near term, ~10 years.

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  12. I agree with CPP, lobbing pittances at the poor, in the form of R15s, doesn’t mean that the NIH isn’t systematically and quietly pushing smaller labs and universities out of the biomedical research game.

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  13. DrugMonkey Says:

    Joke or not PP, your continued assertion seems to be that money is being selectively *removed* from the very smallest of programs. That something has *changed*. The larger groups and Unis have gotten the lion’s share since forever! This is not news. This is why R15 and EPSCoR exist in the first place.
    Face it, the Congressional district strategy is an irrefutable truth. So your strategy description must be wrong. I go back t the null hypothesis of “flailing around to act like medicines are going to emerge faster” in preference to any explicit goal of radically restructuring the face of the extramural workforce…

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  14. DrugMonkey Says:

    Perhaps not GR but CTSA and other boondoggles aren’t evidence in favor of the hypothesis either. The overwhelming null is the *usual* favoring of rich-get-richer policies, slightly alleviated by special programs, combined with a pronounced lack of comprehensive strategy of the type PP is asserting.
    Awards in my subfields of interest continue to be made to the University of Where? and to smaller laboratories.

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  15. mygraduationday Says:

    Plenty of CTSA vs IDEA program competition/suspicion at NCRR and in the EPSCoR states. Keep in mind that the CTSAs did incorporate the existing GCRCs, with admittedly some expansion. And there are a few CTSAs in the EPSCoR/IDEA states. COBRE dollars are not exactly chump change – not sure of the amount, but $25M this year and the program has been ongoing for 10 years. There is no apparent scaling back of COBRES. Phase III is for half the funding of normal COBRES, but the idea is that each existing COBRE should be self-sustaining via R01/P50 support after 10 years of full funding (full funding per COBRE being about $16M over 10 years)- not sure that has proven to be the case. Each institution can have up to 3 COBRES. INBRE is also not insignificant $$$ ($11M/state). I agree that R15s are indeed insignificant $$ – not a worthy indicator. The 26 EPSCoR states have about 20% of the biomedical researchers so the funding may not be as out of line as portrayed, it should be more, but IMO different mechanism. Politically, of course, 26 states have the majority of the senate (some of which are powerful appropriators), so NIH will continue to support the program – at current levels. But, do I think the COBRE program is a success (in terms of transitions to R01 for new investigators, generation of new centers and institutional sustainability) – absolutely not.

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  16. mygraduationday Says:

    BTW:
    The EPSCoR program at NIH is called IDEA. Within IDEA you have the main COBRE and INBRE programs. So (mostly) states that are EPSCoR NSF states are also EPSCoR IDEA states, almost same qualifying criteria. EPSCoR at NIH = IDEA which has/had been housed in NCRR.

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  17. Joke or not PP, your continued assertion seems to be that money is being selectively *removed* from the very smallest of programs.

    Dude, try to fucken read what is written and stoppe making wildeasse assumptions. My assertion is about the *differential distribution* of money among programs, not about the absolute amount of money going to any one program.
    Look, the bottom line is that you assume absence of any plan and absence of any top-down oversight. My assumption is that when a diverse collection of individual policy decisions leads inexorably towards a particular outcome *and* high-level decision-makers do nothing to attempt to divert from that course, then it is reasonable to assume that those high-level decision-makers are–at a minimum–indifferent to that outcome and–more likely–think it is reasonable.

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  18. mygraduationday Says:

    CPP – not only top-down NIH reviewer issues, but also bottom-up reviewer issues regarding funding in the IDEA states. I have been a standing member of a study section for over 10 years. Does “zip code bias” exist – I can say absolutely yes. I have seen it in obvious action and called reviewers on the bias (science being dinged simply because of where the PI was located, not any issue relevant to the actual application). Anyone denying zip code bias is a fool.
    Has it gotten worse recently? – yes, in my opinion. Seems a particularly bad bias by the MDs on study section. The current NIH programs/administrators do nothing to address “zip code bias” issue, to level the playing field, and we loose great science in favor of big science.

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  19. DrugMonkey Says:

    The current NIH programs/administrators do nothing to address “zip code bias” issue,
    The study sections that I’ve been on seem to take the geographical diversity requirement of CSR very seriously. But I’ve gotten the impression over the years that when it comes to toeing the line as far as fair/bythebook behavior goes, the SROs I’ve seen in operation are excellent.
    So are you referring to a lack of geographical diversity on these sections? Or is it just that said geographical diversity does not help with the zip-code bias? (after all, just because someone comes from the University of FlyoverLand doesn’t mean they won’t exhibit coastal bias in judging grant applications)

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  20. Anonymous Says:

    “…we loose great science in favor of big science.”
    This is not new with NIH funding. This is the trend for at least 20 years, if not longer. At the end, ‘BIG’ will survive, ‘small’ will disappear. Too many universities and research institutions have became dependent on NIH funding, while hording their donations and contributions. Many of these institutions have billions of $$$ that could be used to fund outstanding research in their own houses yet, they invest them in the market and collect the piddling income they get from these investments for the past two or three years. Investing their money in their best science not only will keep their research programs going, it will produce everything that NIH funding was supposed to produced before W destroyed the economy of this country.

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  21. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, decreased funding levels will indeed kill small, soft-money labs in med schools and especially research institues. Labs with 2 or more grants can cut a post-doc, a tech, and a grad student and still stay afloat at their new, smaller size. Labs that already only have enough money for 2 grads/postdocs will have no where to go but out.
    However, I think small labs will still persist in schools of arts and science. Tenured faculty in A&S depts who are going through a “dry spell” can make it through by picking up additional teaching duties and using more undergraduate students (who are often free or nearly-free). Which… is really kind of the point of tenure and why it’s basically meaningless in soft-money arrangements. You’re not dumped simply because you’ve hit a nadir in productivity – because you still have value through teaching, consulting, etc.

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  22. mygraduationday Says:

    Pure geographical diversity of study sections is of course excellent – Nevertheless, although the problem of zip code bias has been there, in my experience, it has recently getting stronger. The majority of study section membership is from major research universities (there are some even in the middle and southern part of the country after all) rather than institutional diversity. At my last meeting, the primary at the end of the review said “and there probably isn’t a medical specialist X for over 300 miles, har, har…” never mind that the medical specialty X wasn’t relevant or needed for that application. On the other hand, we also had someone ad hoc with an R15 – really was not clued into the field. Do you really want someone with a first R15 award reviewing your R01?
    At colleges of arts and science, sure, only a 9 month salary for a tenured PI- but how long can you seriously stay competitive in the R01 arena without dollars for supplies, animals, travel, grad students, publication costs? I would guess not for more than a year or two before you are out, and how do you like teaching undergrads full time for the rest of your career or go off into paper-pushing administration?

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  23. whimple Says:

    You’re not dumped simply because you’ve hit a nadir in productivity – because you still have value through teaching, consulting, etc.
    In practical terms, the value added by teaching and consulting is so small as to not make a difference. We had a big meeting here just this week looking at a large-scale “reorganization” of the college of medicine. The subtitle of the presentation essentially was, “how can we generate money from all the underfunded tenured basic sciences faculty?” We just don’t need that much teaching. The ultimate answer will be to fire all of them, tenured or not. We’re not unique in this situation. Sooner or later some school facing this existential crisis will be the first to fire all their tenured underfunded “investigators” and then all the other schools will rapidly follow suit, and that will about wrap it up for tenure.

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  24. Neuro-conservative Says:

    I have the same impression as CPP (more importantly, so does my dean) — but admittedly with no hard data to back it up.
    DM’s analysis was not compelling, for the reasons CPP noted.
    A more germane analysis might focus on institutions funded in the first round of CTSA in 2006, and examine the percentage of total NIH dollars awarded to those institutions from 2000-2010.
    Of course, this analysis would still not capture more micro-level trends, such as the fate of small labs in big institutions (or big labs in small institutions), and the increasing role of collaborations, consortia, and virtual centers.

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  25. DrugMonkey Says:

    I have the same impression as CPP (more importantly, so does my dean) — but admittedly with no hard data to back it up.
    DM’s analysis was not compelling, for the reasons CPP noted.

    While I hardly claimed that this was a “compelling” analysis, it is beyond hilarious that you and CPP stick to your gut feeling and BS with nary a shred of backing data to insist that my figure is meaningless.

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  26. Dumshitte, none of us have any fucken non-anecdotal data. The only question is whose story sounds more plausible.

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  27. becca Says:

    I doubt NIH is actively trying to kill off small labs, but I’m sure they know there will continue to be considerable attrition, and that small labs are the most vulnerable to gaps in funding.
    More accurately, I’m pretty sure there are people at NIH who do feel that way, and people who don’t- I don’t think either side has ‘won’.
    If NIH were *efficiently* going about intentionally nudging the size of labs upwards, you’d see it as *much* easier for people to get a second R01 compared to getting the first R01. At least in my academic med center, I do not think that is the case.
    However, I do get the impression NIH wants universities to stop building more fancy institutes to get a larger slice of the federal pie. When everybody does that… it gets ugly pretty quick.

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  28. juniorprof Says:

    Gotta say I’m with DM and NC. And to whimple’s point, its happening here… the provost’s invitation for people to take early retirement options officially went out today. That’s just the start, depending on how much savings they get out of that.

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  29. juniorprof Says:

    sorry, meant I’m with CPP and NC…

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  30. mygraduationday Says:

    the other NIH policy that will drive small labs out is the rejection of similar applications after two tries. Big labs have multiple projects going, small labs only one focus. I was talking to my Program officer yesterday and they being asked to micromanaging submissions. A colleague had 24 hours to explain to NIH why his grant was not similar to one he had submitted last year. And only 7 grants were in for a RFA review section last week because all others were deemd “non-responsive” by program – reviewers never saw them, so who knows what the science was in those applications. I think the one lab R01 is really being disadvantaged by this policy.

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  31. Anonymous Says:

    And in terms of supporting biomedical research in the EPSCoR/IDEA states (to overcome zip code bias), I do have a constructive idea on how NIH could honestly enhance the funding levels to overcome bias. NIH simply needs a policy like NSF of co-funding applications in these states. Through the directors office, a pool of $$$ would be set aside for applications from these states to co-fund with institutes those R01 applications in the “grey-zone” for funding. Institutes can build their portfolios this way, good peer-reviewed science gets funded, and the playing field would be leveled in terms of zip code bias. You don’t need NCRR-type administrative structure, or COBRE programs (which isn’t working), or politics (other than the funding amount).

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  32. CD0 Says:

    I agree that survival is becoming more difficult for small labs, particularly for those that entered the game recently. I do not think that this is intentional, but it is happening. Now, if we go back to 2008 levels this year (hopefully not), we would be below the funding levels that a mere adjustment by inflation would have brought without NIH doubling. With many more people to share these funds. This is unsustainable. If we do not increase the budget, there is not enough for everybody.
    In my opinion, what should have been established long time ago is a cap for the number of big awards that a PI can accumulate. I know several researchers with 5 R01s. They are of course very productive, but not as productive as 5 individual researchers with a single R01 combined. A new investigator can establish a lab and a new direction of unpredictable potential with a single R01, but many are being thrown out of the game.
    I do not have the solution but a depressing reality for me these days is that, even being relatively lucky in terms of funding myself, I cannot convince some of my most promising students to remain in Academia. They do well, they publish well and they can go basically to the lab they want after graduation. But they see they way we have to struggle and move to industry or to other jobs. We are just wasting a generation…

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  33. what should have been established long time ago is a cap for the number of big awards that a PI can accumulate. I know several researchers with 5 R01s. They are of course very productive, but not as productive as 5 individual researchers with a single R01 combined. A new investigator can establish a lab and a new direction of unpredictable potential with a single R01, but many are being thrown out of the game.
    Do you have evidence or is this just mere speculation on productivity? I challenge your thoughts on leveling the playing field by capping major awards with the idea that maybe we leveled it too much and are diluting the funding from talented labs to those that never should have been created. But like you I have no data to back it up.

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  34. whimple Says:

    Do you have evidence or is this just mere speculation on productivity?
    Here you go:
    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101116/full/468356a.html

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  35. Whimple, it says mid-level funded labs are the best. Where does it say that an investigator with a single R01 is more productive than a PI single R01, who happens to have 4 others?

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  36. whimple Says:

    Neither of you had any data, so I give you some and you complain about it? Just look at the data and draw the appropriate conclusions.

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  37. Kandel Says:

    I agree with wimple (#34) and the nature report. I think that a major problem in the academic arena is the contamination with business practices that some “academics” have learned in Business Executive Programs at Business Schools: the higher the number of employees you have and supervised, the better the salary and recognition. I don’t think that those “business models are not transferable” to academic science. It doesn’t work. I happened to hear a comment from a researcher who had been persuaded to move from a middlee size lab (2R01s) to become the manager of a huge but huger to-be lab (grants operator wise) on those grounds. Indeed, she became the manager and that lab become huger but the actual “science”, the “pressurized” working conditions “to produce” (with little respect for family obligations) and so on, made her eventually move from there. “It is not gold all that glitters”.

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  38. CD0 Says:

    Yes, I only have anecdotal evidence for the cases that I know first hand. I give you that I may be wrong in the precise detail of the most effective distribution of the number of awards per lab. Fine, but I think that the Nature report supports the general idea that people who maintain a transgenic facility only for their lab or organize luxurious lab retreats in paradisiacal locations are not using public funds in the most productive manner. That’s my point.
    The problem is that these are the scientists that are primarily listened for establishing funding priorities or implement reforms. And it is my feeling that most of them (again, without statistically significant evidence) made their seminal contributions when they run smaller labs.

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  39. mikka Says:

    I can attest to the effects of the K99 on the job market (applied in my last possible year, didn’t get it, now am at a big disadvantage against people with less/equal CV). If the intended effect was to further skew funding towards fewer more promising people then I fell off the cab. Whether it was intentional only Zerhouni knows I guess, but in my life K99 + economic slowdown = no job for me.

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  40. DrugMonkey Says:

    Are you feeling my pain yet, whimple?
    The thing about that dataset from NIGMS is that it only gives us the one indicator of “productivity” or ROI, i.e., paper count.
    It is indubitably the case that as you ascend the Impact Factor ranks, a given publication costs more. More in $$ burn rate, more in bodies, more in capital equipment, etc. A LOT more in some cases.
    So even though Berg presented the mean IF and paper count, I wonder if the distribution starts to settle into a bimodal one out there on the spendy side. Also I wonder if the variance attributable to nonFederal sources (HHMI, unending stream of small-foundation training fellowships) plays a big role.

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  41. whimple Says:

    Actually, I think most of the pain comes from the NIH funding projects rather than people. There are some exceptions both official (ESI bump-ups, the “investigator” and “environment” criteria in application scoring) and unofficial (people begging their PO not to shut down their lab), but mostly the best-reviewed projects are getting funded just fine like they always have. I don’t think the NIH has a larger agenda, nefarious or benign. The NIH has stated that the major goal of making the applications shorter was to make the process easier for reviewers rather than applicants, since they’re having trouble getting people to serve appropriately on study section. I don’t see why we wouldn’t just take the NIH at their word about that and attribute everything else to unintended consequences.

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  42. DrugMonkey Says:

    I suppose one reason why I don’t take them at their word was that I am unconvinced that shortening apps makes it “easier on reviewers” since reading pages is by no means the time sink of review. Most of my peers who were serving on study sections the time this shook down had a similar reaction.
    I have not had much opportunity to update my initial opinion, however, so I wouldn’t yet venture an informed opinion on whether it is easier or harder to review a 12 pager.
    (and do recognize that by “easier for reviewers”, part of what CSR means is “load up the existing reviewer base with even more applications to review per round”)

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  43. Anonymous Says:

    You’re talking about ‘pain’ now, just wait until Rand Paul’s budget cuts hit the fan!

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  44. “Kandel”
    Shitlington??? Is that you?????

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  45. DrugMonkey Says:

    And of course the perennial plea of the junior mint scientists, Cap those Big Labs at 4 R01s and all will be well!

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  46. kinda new PI Says:

    No, the NIH does not “try” and do anything. It is a government bureaucracy that exists to redistribute taxpayer dollars to academic researchers. But new labs and small labs *are* being killed. Why?
    Let’s cut the crap. If one more person says to me “the best science” gets funded, I’ll go crazy. How many more papers do we need saying Protein X stimulates ERK1/2 in Y cells? Or that the N-terminal domain of Protein Z is necessary/sufficient for ubiquitin mediated degradation… pleeze.
    A simple analogy. Put rats in a cage and slowly take away the resources, watch what happens. The more evolved rats will form groups to control a resource flow. They will only allow new rats to enter their group if more resources become available. If resources become more limiting, a rat will become sacrificed. The strongest, smartest rats will not necessarily survive, but rather the rat that is able to form or integrate into a group.
    For all these highly scientific, intellectual minds on here, I find it quite amazing that no one can see that we are reverting to tribalism. Sad.
    I would also like to comment on the “RO1 limit”, which I did over a year ago. Bottom line. When a lab gets >2 R01’s, the PI become a CEO, hires captains to run the show, and does little to mentor, perform experiments, teach etc… but rather focuses on keeping/getting more funding. This involves going to meeting/conferences/giving talks. We are funding these lavish lifestyles with NIH dollars. That’s fucking bullshit. PI’s should stay in their lab, pick up a motherfucking pipetteman and get to work. If you can’t do that, then get the fuck out of this business and go become a union member or Program Officer, or better yet, retire.

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  47. becca Says:

    I can attest to the fact that *looking* at your cells funny (not literally) or swirling their dish (literally) can turn on ERK1/2.

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  48. miko Says:

    “I can attest to the effects of the K99 on the job market”
    As far as I can tell, the function of the K99 is too make sure fields remain hereditary oligarchies. All postdoc awards are awards to (and almost solely based on) the PI/department. Basing hiring decisions on these awards assures that the filial and obedient progeny of current field leaders become the next generation of field leaders, dutifully lighting incense and citing the ancestors. Imagine if those poor old PIs had to go to conferences where there were insufficient people to fawn over them!

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  49. Denis Says:

    Seriously, even with all of effort in peer-review, the result is the same: incredible bias in favor of the “rich” established labs and the quality of science is all over the map. The message is clear, shit on the young until they leave and blame them for the lack of funds. NIH is killing its young.
    Simple way to solve it: limit R01s to 2 per lab, many more smaller grants spread widely. It won’t ever happen though.

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  50. Cashmoney Says:

    Simple way to solve it: limit R01s to 2 per lab, many more smaller grants spread widely.
    Yes, quite simple indeed. Why, I find it surprising that the NIH has not thought of this before.

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  51. DrugMonkey Says:

    limit R01s to 2 per lab, many more smaller grants spread widely.

    You *did* take a look at the data, right?
    If something less than 10% of investigators have more than 2 grants already, how much are you going to be able to change things with your limit?
    Particularly if a numerical limit in number of grants means that people stop applying for full-modular $250K grants and start putting in $350K to $450K traditional budget R01s?

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  52. Particularly if a numerical limit in number of grants means that people stop applying for full-modular $250K grants and start putting in $350K to $450K traditional budget R01s?

    Any non-ESI investigator who isn’t already doing this is fucken stupid.

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