Is R01 level funding necessary to get hired as an Assistant Professor?

August 16, 2011

Go give your answer at The Tightrope blog.
I’d say that for substance-abuse type disciplines, the answer is no. There do seem to be a lot of K99/R00 folks being hired though.


20 Responses to “Is R01 level funding necessary to get hired as an Assistant Professor?”

  1. Isis the Scientist Says:

    Wait. I don’t get it. How are these non-profs securing multiple R01s when most of them aren’t eligible for PI status?


  2. anon Says:

    Isis, no one has to be a professor or have a TT position to be eligible for an R01. Specifically, eligibility is as follows: “Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support.”
    As long as the university, or “eligible organization” provides support for the individual to perform the project, there is no reason they can’t apply.


  3. DrLizzyMoore Says:

    I think the question stems from some departments overlooking junior investigators altogether and recruiting from a pool of non-tenured asst profs with $$. An institution down the road practices this, but I couldn’t comment how common this actually is.


  4. matt Says:

    At my department, I was the most recent hire and I had a K award. We are now hiring new faculty and I am the de facto chair of the search committee, we are not allowed to interview anyone without money, of at least a K award. And there is no way we can hire anyone without a K award at least. The chair really wants someone mid career with multiple RO1s. Sucky policy based on only $$ not science.


  5. Isis the Scientist Says:

    It is my understanding that grants are awarded to a university, not to an individual. At my unversity undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, visiting professors, and visiting academic staff are not eligible to apply for grants as a prinicipal investigator, with the exception of fellowships for which limited PI status is assigned. Only faculty and non-tenure track research faculty and scientists are eligible for PI status.
    So, unless I’m missing something or I am at a completely draconian institution that is unlike all the others……


  6. Isis the Scientist Says:

    So then, if I am understanding what DrLizzyMoore is saying, is DrO saying that “top tier” universities are just poaching TT asst profs from other places?


  7. DrugMonkey Says:

    Institutions do vary Isis. I’ve seen grants submitted where the title on the Biosketch reads “postdoc”…as well as “instructor” and the word salad of terms that represent quasi-faculty, non-tenure-track.
    So “top-tier” hiring committees may be poaching folks from the non-tenure-track pool from other “top-tier” universities.


  8. whimple Says:

    They’re poaching the tenure-track and tenured pool too, so long as the cash is there. We call these “targets of opportunity”.


  9. Dr Becca Says:

    At my last institution, it was very common for senior post-docs/research scientists to apply for R01s. If they got it, they were free to shop it around to other Uni’s, but they usually also had the option of staying in the department as non-TT faculty with their own (small) lab space.


  10. pinus Says:

    of the last 5 people hired in my unit
    2 had K99, 1 had an R21 and some foundation funding, 2 had nothing.
    The search committee I was JUST on that didn’t result in a hire…no pressure to hire somebody with money.
    so I think it is a mixed bag.


  11. Cashmoney Says:

    There has always been selection, based in part on seemingly unfair or random factors. Where you publish, what you publish, who you trained with or where.
    I am not convinced that selection based on having won some sort of research funding is fundamentally different. Late postdocs just need to realize that the relative emphasis has changed. So their calculation of what their CV needs to appear more competitive has changed. Or should change.
    Get in position to write a grant and send one in.


  12. Funky Fresh Says:

    That’s crazy talk.


  13. There is a big difference between medical school clinical and basic science departments in this regard. Basic science departments almost always have start-up money from the school that they can use to recruit, and thus don’t need to require any portable funding: K or R awards. Because clinical departments have clinical income, deans are loath to give them start-ups, and thus they have a much greater tendency to require existing K or R funding in their recruits.


  14. Dr. O Says:

    Dr. Isis – at my uni, we can get promoted to non-tenure-track faculty in order to apply for grants, which I did prior to finding out I would be awarded my K grant. So I was preparing to apply for an R21 or R01. Even though I am technically labeled faculty, I am really more of a postdoc with a fancy title that allows me to apply for big girl grants.


  15. Alex K Says:

    The year I got hired was 2007 and though things were much better, the hiring existing asst profs was already happening. In fact, at 2 universities, everyone else I interviewed with (as a postdoc) was already an asst prof somewhere else.
    I hear you need at least a K to get a job these days in my area. I don’t have an R01 and am not worried about getting tenure even without an R01, but I don’t think I could get another job in today’s market.
    But it could also be that people are making everything sound really worse than it is, which does tend to happen…


  16. whimple Says:

    Alex K, if you’re an assistant professor at a medical school four years in without an R01, you owe yourself some very serious consideration of Career Plan B, assuming that tenure is Career Plan A. That’s not a bad thing, but I’d prep something up.


  17. arrzey Says:

    At my MRU school of Medicine, the answer is no. Also interesting to me, as I mentor young TT folks, is do you need R01 for *tenure* or promotion to non-tenured assoc prof (tenure where I am comes with Full, and that’s a joke, too). We just had a school wide committee revise the standards for promotion, and R01 is not mentioned anywhere. Independent, PI status (which could be on a smaller foundation grant)is acceptable. Someone, somewhere has their head screwed on right.


  18. DrugMonkey Says:

    Interesting arzey. I’m intrigued by the implication of standards changing with the times. Do you mean the standard previously mentioned R01 or that it was a sort of expected-but-unwritten rule?


  19. I was relatively surprised to find out that someone at my medical school was recently granted tenure without any current NIH grant funding at all. They had a single R01 at one point, but it expired several years ago and was not renewed. Maybe expectations have to change, or else too few people will earn tenure to keep the institution alive? Maybe institutions are starting to realize that it doesn’t do them any good to shittecanne mid-career people just because they don’t currently have an R01, just to open up space (and burn start-up) to hire a n00b who may never get one either?


  20. arrzey Says:

    Actually, *written* standards have changed twice in the last ten years. And, at least at the Asst to Assoc level transition, there has been a large effort to make these changes mean something. There are tracks now for program builders, educators and clinicians, where it is acknowledged that the level of funding & publication appropriate for research is not required. Other kinds of achievement, appropriate for both track & level are specified. I’m chair of promo in my dept, and we’ve had success with two people, but of whom absolutely deserved it, neither of whom had ever had an R01. Note the titles are all the same, the tracks are only for purposes of promotion. I don’t know if the “R01” standard was ever explicit but it sure was implicit.


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