I love writedit but sometimes she cracks me the heck up. In responding to a nervous (newb, as it happens) PI on one of her epic threads she says:

I can’t imagine you not being funded as ESI at the 9th percentile at NIDDK, especially given the news that the NIH would only lose $1B on the Republican proposal. You’ll still be waiting a while for an award, but I would certainly hope you can rest easy at night with that score/percentile.[ Emphasis added. ]

HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAAA! PIs “rest easy” after the NGA has been issued. Or more like it, when their institution has issued them a charge number *after* the NGA has been awarded. I don’t care if they get a 2%ile score and are totes best buddies* with the Institute/Center Director. They sweat it.

The reason is that there can always be skips. Decisions on the part of the IC that they just don’t need your science, no matter what the percentile rank. Sure the skips are vanishingly rare, but they happen.

And this stuff matters to PIs. Matters intensely. I don’t think anyone really understands this.

Certainly not administrative or institutional staff who draw their salary from various institutional structures whether grants are awarded to a particular PI or not. Not even the PI’s own lab staff who operate in a sort of denial about lab funding, even if the PI is open about grant matters. Heck, probably not the PI’s spouse, either.

Because as far as they are concerned, your past success (if you are a previous awardee) is all the evidence they need to assume “well of course you are going to get your grant”. If you are a newbie, then the past success of people similar to you means the same thing. Of course you will eventually receive your grant.

Nobody really believes, in their heart of hearts, that you could fail** in quite the same way that you do, my PI friends.

I pretty much believe*** my latest competitive grant award was my last one ever.

*well, maybe not those PIs

**and no, I’m not talking about imposter syndrome. This is objective analysis of the odds of NIH grant success talking here.

***not kidding.