Toni Scarpa to leave CSR

August 16, 2011

Via writedit:
CSR presser [PDF]

Immediately my eye was drawn to the claim that Scarpa launched the effort to train early career reviewers. What a crock of misleading fewmets!

He was the one driving the ship, right over objections from his SROs, to purge Assistant Professors from panels. And when they started this training initiative, he wanted the noobs to just sit there without any assigned reviews to write!

No Responses Yet to “Toni Scarpa to leave CSR”

  1. Grantee Says:


    1) I remember seeing Toni Scarpa responding to a question on bringing Early Career Investigators to Study Sections and I perceived in his answer a concern on not overloading them with grants reviews because of their professional instability. And I did hear him saying that it was a good idea to combine the training in their respective universities with participation in NIH review in a moderate fashion (to ensure that their major effort is in getting grants and publications).

    2) How would you start an effective training initiative for early career investigators other than giving them 1-2 initial sessions as auditors?.

    Sorry DM but you got carried away with your emphasis !


  2. Genomic Repairman Says:

    Here is the link to the Nature Q&A with him on his time at CSR and leaving…


  3. drugmonkey Says:

    How would you start an effective training initiative for early career investigators other than giving them 1-2 initial sessions as auditors?.

    What nobody seems to be able to grasp is that these early career investigators have most typically spent 5-6 years in graduate school and 3-6 years in postdoc training before successfully passing the job-market gauntlet. They are not children by any means. They can handle it.

    A light load, okay fine, but “auditing”? A waste of time. You learn by *doing*. And as I pointed out in another thread, if the noob happens to have two applications that aren’t discussed, she or he is not getting full value out of the experience. Ideally, they’d be on at least one discussed application. Probably need about 5 assigned grants to get good odds of that, btw.


  4. drugmonkey Says:

    Interesting GR. First thing I noticed from Scarpa’s comments

    And we brought in affirmative action for new investigators: now, each institute has to find a sufficient number of new investigators to fund, about 30% of its grants.

    HAHAHAA, another total lie. Well, at least a lie going by the data that I’ve seen so far. Existing data make it clear that they only way the NIH has been boosting the New Investigator success rates is on the Program side of the equation. Making adjustments to the paylines or just plain picking grants up. I have yet to see any data that suggest that Scarpa’s tenure was marked by actual improvements in the scores of New Investigator grants coming out of study sections. For him to make this claim, we need to see score/percentile trends.


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