Your Grant in Review: Scientific Premise

May 28, 2016

I am starting to suspect that the Scientific Premise review item will finally communicate overall excitement/boredom to the applicant. This will be something to attend closely when deciding to revise an application or just to start over. 

17 Responses to “Your Grant in Review: Scientific Premise”

  1. Pinko Punko Says:

    Does it get a sub category score? I think it will just be the place where “model is not supported/ experiments are premature” goes- though one difference is if there is some paper that a reviewer hates and the grant is based on such, this might be much more explicit- like “Fig. 2 of cited work underlying Aim 1 on bunnyhopping is no interpreted correctly by the original authors”- I would be curious about this kind of stuff.


  2. iGrrrl Says:

    It comes under Significance, and near as I can tell, it means that the discussion of the literature goes there with an added wrinkle. The applicant is supposed to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the published work upon which the proposal is based.


  3. Philapodia Says:

    CSR should put in a “Hot or Not?” checkbox at the end of the online scoring sheet. They do it for teachers, why not grants? Grants that have two or more “Hot” checks are worth resubmitting, grants with one or none are done. At least then there is no ambiguity about whether the reviewers actually liked your grant. This will also help POs identify trendy science to fund.


  4. Dave Says:

    So, is this a reasonable summary of all the changes required that are related to the new reproducibility stuff?


  5. joatmon Says:

    @DM I wonder if this is a way the CSR is forcing reviewers to read each app more carefully?

    @Philapodia with the diversity of the apps, it is not easy for all reviewers to judge if the proposed research is hot or not.


  6. joatmon Says:

    @ iGrrrl would you criticize the published work produced by a study section member?


  7. qaz Says:

    How is this diferent from good scholarship? Which was always a key criterion.


  8. Anony Says:

    Previously, I put in key information in the Significance, stating important published findings supporting my project and hinting at/summarizing my preliminary data. I kept the preliminary data itself in the Approach section so I could go into more depth and place it with the relevant section. I liked this because the Significance and Innovation sections appeared on the first page.

    One thing I dislike about putting my preliminary data in the Significance section in support of my scientific premise is that it bumps the Innovation section pretty far down. Also, it seems like the Significance section isn’t strictly about significance of the research anymore…

    I’m working on an application now and I’m anxious about changing my formula now!


  9. joatmon Says:

    @anony you missed the whole conversation of the topic on Twitter!


  10. Anony Says:

    @joatmon Yes. Yes I did. Is there a link or a TL;DR version? Or must I tweet instead of write?


  11. joatmon Says:

    @Anony Follow iGrrrl and read everything she wrote. Everything she said on Twitter (and on this blog) is gold!


  12. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    What’s so motherfucken annoying about all this new scorable crapola, is that all of it–as per the usual–is just gonna be post-hoc justification for impact scores based on overall excitement vs boredom. There should be fewer scoring criteria, not more.


  13. Draino Says:

    I thought like Anony that I didn’t want to change up my Significance by dumping a stinky pile of background and preliminary data in the middle of it. I wrote it a certain way on the last grant and got an outstanding score.

    Then I thought like Comradde that the attitude of the SS and assigned reviewers was the overwhelming driver of my score. I lucked out. Maybe pulled an especially influential person for reviewer 1. Who knows. There was no special formula based on a certain arrangement of significance statements in one place and background/prelimdata in another. So I wrote what I would have written anyway and payed lip service to the Premise requirement by inserting a brief discussion of the background in there. Brief, but with a pointed criticism of one thing. Still focused on why the research is significant.

    I guess some people were asserting Significance without discussing *any* background? It seems logical to include something.

    We’ll see how it goes.


  14. Pippso Says:

    how about starting with preliminary data, before significance? Suicide?


  15. joatmon Says:

    @CPP Premise is not going to be scored separately, right? It will still be part of the pre-existing criterion score, i.e. significance. I was wondering if this is a way the NIH/CSR is forcing all reviewers to read the apps more thoroughly. It will be helpful to hear your experience at the SS.

    @Pippso It sounds like a challenge to frame the significance of your prelim without any context. Would’t you think?


  16. Pippso Says:

    This was more about the technicality of inventing new sections, not including context in significance.


  17. Emaderton3 Says:

    I apologize for trying to resurrect an older post, but I would be interested to hear where everyone ended up putting their preliminary data. I recently submitted a R21 and stuck to the older model of discussing literature in Significance and putting my preliminary data at the start of Approach and sprinkled in.

    Alternatively, has anyone recently been on a study section since the changes in the applications took effect and could comment on where the preliminary data has been and what the expectations are? Are Significance sections getting really long or are people keeping them short and putting data elsewhere?


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