Repost: A Conversation About the Environment score criterion

August 5, 2015

This was originally published July 21, 2010.

After NIGMS Director Berg notified me of his most recent regression analysis of the individual criterion scores, the good Comrade PhysioProf had a conversation. As is our wont. It went something like this.

Comrade PhysioProf: The most interesting thing of all the correlations was that investigator and environment are so highly correlated.

Your Humble Narrator: I’m not really surprised. I find environment to be a throw away consideration on panels I’ve been on. people don’t generally propose to do something for which major infrastructure is absent!

CPP: On my last R01 review and my post-doc’s NRSA, they waxed poetic about the fucking environment. In the applications, we went on and on about the scientific environment and named a number of specific faculty members whose expertise would be drawn upon blah, blah, blah. I think that shit can actually work.

YHN: Christ what a load of shit

CPP: Dude, it’s true! We have an outstanding environment! The food trucks outside the med school are some of the finest in all of biomedical research!

CPP: How funny would it be to actually put that in the facilities sections of an application? “The “Alibertos” food truck is only steps away from our laboratory and provides a level of energy dense food that contributes substantially to the likelihood of success of the proposed specific aims.”

YHN: “The “Alibertos” truck returns in evening hours at 6 and 10 pm so that trainees need not leave the lab until 12pm, thus maximizing throughput for these studies”

CPP: I just looked at the instructions for the new application format, and that would actually go in the “Resources” section.

YHN: HAHHAHHAHAAAHAH, you are such a grant geek!!!!!


Additional Reading:

7 Responses to “Repost: A Conversation About the Environment score criterion”

  1. MoBio Says:

    My sense is that unless environment is a negative that it has nil effect on the overall score.


  2. Jonathan Badger Says:

    So will CPP provide an update on whether the food truck situation is still good at his location? I find the trend towards more and more expensive food trucks serving “gourmet” food rather than street tacos rather depressing, myself.


  3. AcademicLurker Says:

    “Thanks to the frequent assaults and robberies near campus, trainees are afraid to leave the buildings after dark. Time spent in the lab is therefore maximized, especially during the Winter months.”


  4. Kate Says:

    On a serious note, wouldn’t it be great if resources like “more than the bare-minimum required lactation space” or “on-site daycare with actual availability/accessibility” got people more points for their Environment score? In my opinion (and experience), these things can have a tremendous impact on productivity… even more so than proximity to food trucks!


  5. physioprof Says:

    Food truck situation still kicks fucken asse!


  6. shrew Says:

    “The municipality in which our University is located lacks in entertainment venues and has a dysfunctional Parks and Recreation Department, creating no competing activities with which essential personnel may be distracted. All commutes are less than 20 minutes. The only nearby food option to our laboratory is a Subway 2 blocks away and a coffee shop next door, meaning all personnel consume their tasteless food as quickly as possible, or opt for lunch from the vending machine.”

    Thus describing the environment of my first postdoc!


  7. Alex Says:

    “This project will be conducted in the setting of a primarily-undergraduate institution (Broader Impact) with no football team, no Division I teams, and no on-campus fraternity houses. The lack of fraternity parties and athletic events will facilitate spending weekends in the lab.”


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