Presented as a brief guide since I am often too lazy to fully spell out terms.

  1. The Borg- ScienceBlogs
  2. CRISP– Computerized Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects
  3. Dr. Greybeard and/or Professor Bluehair- My shorthand for (very) senior scientists with long established track records who disproportionately (as a demographic) suck up the grant funding.
  4. IC- Institutes and Centers that make up the NIH. E.g., National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH, as in “Mrs. Frisby and the rats of…”), National Cancer Institute, National Center for Research Resources, etc.
  5. MDMA- 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; the recreational drug commonly referred to as “Ecstasy”
  6. NIH– The National Institutes of Health
  7. PI- Principal Investigator. The main scientific role on a NIH grant, i.e. the one in charge of the research. Often shorthand for the most senior scientist leading the research group/laboratory.
  8. “Program”- The staff of the individual NIH Institutes and Centers who administer grants. Individually “Program Official/Officer” or “PO”
  9. RFA- Request for Applications. A NIH announcement requesting applications on a very narrowly defined scientific target. This is accompanied by a commitment on the part of the sponsoring IC to commit to X dollars in funding and an estimate of funding Y number of proposals submitted. Usually these will have special submission dates and be reviewed in Special Emphasis Panels convened for the purpose of a given RFA.
  10. SEP- Special Emphasis Panel is the term for the NIH peer review panels that are convened as one-offs for specific purposes including RFAs and to review the grants of members of standing study sections.
  11. SLAC- Small, Liberal Arts College.
  12. SRA/SRO– Scientific Review Administrator (renamed Scientific Review Officer in 2007). The staff person who runs a given study section. S/he assigns reviewers to the applications, puts the meeting together, keeps the meeting running on time, etc.
  13. Study Section- The specific review panels organized under “initial review groups” or IRG. The first and most important stage of review of your application to the NIH. Typically 3 of your scientific peers provide in depth critique of your application and then the group of some 15-30 people meet to discuss all the top half of applications assigned to that section for a given round of funding.
  14. YHN- Your Humble Narrator
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