NIH Plans For Stimulus Funds

Feb 21 2009 Published by under NIH Budgets and Economics

Comrade PhysioProf just received an e-mail from NIH with a link to this letter from the acting director. The most relevant section is this:

Many types of funding mechanisms will be supported, but, in general, NIH will focus scientific activities in several areas:
1. We will choose among recently peer reviewed, highly meritorious R01 and similar mechanisms capable of making significant advances in 2 years. R01 are projects proposed directly from scientists across the country.
2. We will also fund new R01 applications that have a reasonable expectation of making progress in two years. The adherence to this time frame is in direct response to the spirit of the law.
3. We will accelerate the tempo of ongoing science through targeted supplements to current grants. For example, we may competitively expand the scope of current research awards or supplement an existing award with additional support for infrastructure (e.g., equipment) that will be used in the two-year availability of these funds.
4. NIH anticipates supporting new types of activities that fit into the structure of the ARRA. For example, it will support a reasonable number of awards to jump start the new NIH Challenge Grant program. This program is designed to focus on health and science problems where progress can be expected in two years. The number of awards and amount of funds will be determined, based on the scientific merit and the quality of applications. I anticipate, of the Office of the Director funds in the ARRA, NIH will support at least $100 to $200 million--but the science will drive the actual level.
5. We will also use other funding mechanisms as appropriate.

67 responses so far

  • juniorprof says:

    We will also fund new R01 applications that have a reasonable expectation of making progress in two years. The adherence to this time frame is in direct response to the spirit of the law.
    I don't mean to be terse, but does anyone submit an R01 on which they don't expect to make progress in two years? One might assume that such language gives them some room to use the stimulus to get into the R01 pool. Sure wish I could get one of these suckers scored to be eligible for the pot.

  • Based on conversations I have had with program staff at one of the Institutes that funds my R01s, I am pretty sure that what he means is that these R01s will only be funded for two years, regardless of how many years they have asked for. So by "reasonable expectation of making progress in two years", he means "reasonable expectation of making sufficient progress in two years to be competitive for competitive renewal".

  • neuroscienceassistantprof says:

    A question: if they want to fund projects that can make significant progress within 2 years, then why not focus some of the funds towards *2-year* grants (ie. R21, R03)? Obviously the smaller size of these grants means that there won't be enough to cover all of the ARRA funds - but wouldn't you think that giving these already 2-year grants prioritized ARRA funding would be particularly well-suited to the spirit of ARRA???

  • qaz says:

    First, the 2-year thing is that they are going to fund some R01's that are close to the payline for two years [as compared to the usual 5-year timeline]. (I know someone who was told by their program officer that they would be in that category and would get at least two years of funding.)
    However, ComradePP, I suspect that the important point in this letter is point #5. At my university, we've been getting letters like this approximately one per day, all incompatible with each other, and all different. It's driving me crazy, because I can't figure out whether to submit my R21 that's almost ready to go in (due this week) or whether to wait to try to make it into a 2-year R01 or to try to prepare something special or fracking what.
    I suspect it's going to be a long and useless process that will be both wasteful and frustrating much like the usual grant review process.
    Maybe what we need is some actual discussion from scientists about what would be the most useful way to spend this money?
    I'll start - I think we should add 1-2 graduate student and postdoc slots to every training grant. That's one job per, it's already prepared, it's a lot of money, and it's funding education.

  • In general, I'm very concerned that the pressure to spend the cash in two years will continue the short-sighted patterns of past NIH planning.
    We have far more trainees than tenure-track faculty positions. Available positions are already being frozen or eliminated at most state universities. So while I'd love to see more training dollars, the fact is that we need to focus on newly-independent investigators and asst/assoc professors in their first 10 years of independence. These people are our future and have already been suffering and leaving academia for other jobs or careers. These people are the seed corn of our national biomedical future.
    I understand the pressure to spend. Everyone associated with any stimulus money is under pressure to fund "shovel-ready" projects. But let's not shovel it down the shitter.

  • new-ass-prof says:

    There is a need and a mandate to spend all the money in 2 years, so it's really useless to complain about it.
    The serious concern should be that according to every indication much of the spending will be at the discretion of NIH staff and will short circuit peer review. I don't think bureaucrats are very good at setting scientific priorities in the form of challenges, especially short-term ones. Nor are they very good at evaluating which existing grants are deserving a supplement. The peer-review process has its problems, but many of the issues boiled down to the impossibly low funding rates: it's difficult to decide which grant is deserving at 10% but much easier at 25%.
    Unfortunately there are strong indications that the stimulus money will make the rich labs richer and leave those of us without NIH funding in an even tougher situation.
    So instead of doling out most of the money without review I really hope that NIH will put out a request for R21-like grants (perhaps with specific spending conditions) that could be reviewed at special emergency review sections. Given the unique circumstances I am sure everyone will be happy to make one extra trip to NIH and perhaps there should be more ad-hoc members added.

  • Dave says:

    NIH advocates should have just worked for a promise of stable inflationary increases each year. This bolus of money is going to cause more problems than it's worth, I think.
    Here is how I would spend the $10 billion...
    1) Take 8 billion, stick it in a money market account at 4% (thereby propping up some banks with lending money), and fund an extra 100-150 R01s a year for perpetuity.
    With the rest of the money...
    2) Hire some out-of-work Silicon Valley hotshots to make a decent electronic grant submission & review system.
    3) Hire an army of statisticians to go out and offer free classes in experimental design and statistics to biomedical scientists.
    4) Endow an annual 'Whistleblower prize' for whomever saves the world the most headache by reporting misconduct & fraud in biomedical science.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Hellooooo? Ivory tower knucklehead peers?? KNOCK, KNOCK!!!!!
    This is not about what is best for science or the scientific enterprise. This is about stimulating the economy. And nobody has an evidence-backed clue about how to do that.
    Is it really that hard to stick to two things people (meaning CongressCritters) can grasp?
    Putting people back to work and buying stuff.
    I think we should be hammering the college-grad employment stats because after all this is just about the only "new jobs" we can create with NIH dollars- technician positions. Trouble is that I wonder if this select group of potential employees is going to make much of an argument.
    Second, we should be hammering the purchase stats...are laboratory big-ticket and consumable items disproportionately obtained from US companies?

  • Hire some out-of-work Silicon Valley hotshots to make a decent electronic grant submission & review system.
    Please, god yes! When I realized that the Adobe form "solution" imported all of the horrific shit from PureEdge, I began to weep.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    When I realized that the Adobe form "solution" imported all of the horrific shit from PureEdge, I began to weep.
    This realization evoked a FAIL and facepalm to the eleventh. Actually worse than the initial realization that when they went to electronic submission the first time that this meant the grants.gov/pure edge nightmare.

  • Dave says:

    Re: PureEdge/BrokenAdobe
    The really crazy thing is that the government already had a reasonable well-tested electronic solution for submission and review of science proposals -- the NSF FastLane system. Have you guys ever used it? It's pretty decent -- not unlike submitting a paper electronically.
    If you check into the history of PureEdge, you'll find that it was adopted by the military first. NIH probably picked it up as part of the Bush administration's push to centralize everything under Grants.gov, I always assumed Halliburton was somehow behind PureEdge. I can imaging some poor NIH bureaucrat being waterboarded into accepting it as the 'preferred' solution.

  • I've never submitted a grant using Fastlane. What's it like that makes it better than PureStank/AdobeShit?

  • jc says:

    fastlane sucks ass. PP, you ain't missing out on any fun.

  • Dave says:

    OK, FastLane isn't perfect, but it hardly 'sucks ass'. Especially in comparison to PureEdge/AdboeForms. You can use PureEdge to submit to NSF too, if you're so masochistically inclined, jc. Do you? I thought not.
    For FastLane, you log in, see all the places ON ONE PAGE (almost) that you need to upload stuff, and you simply do so. Every time you upload a document, you get a chance to see it in PDF format and OK it. When everything is uploaded -- and it's obvious when it has been-- you can officially 'submit' the proposal. Like I said -- not unlike submitting a paper.
    You can actually try a FastLane demo: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/jsp/homepage/demo_site.html
    Go ahead, play with it. I never read directions or was formally instructed in FastLane use before submitting my first proposal or reviewing proposals via the system. It's pretty easy to figure out.
    My main complaint about PureEdge is that unless you already know what to do in PureEdge/Adobe, it is completely nonobvious. There are pages within pages -- a maze of forms. Even after using PureEdge several times, I still have to poke around forever trying to remember where certain things go. And the only reason I know that certain things have to go in there is because I know what a completed application looks like.

  • qaz says:

    Having submitted a lot of grants to both NSF and NIH, I have to second Dave #15's comments on FastLane vs. PureEdge. FastLane isn't perfect, but it's not horrible. PureEdge/AdobeForms is truly horrible. At every step, you can check FastLane's PDFisms. I still think it'd be better if they just gave me the money without all this grant-writing, but if I have to submit something, I'd much rather do FastLane than PureEdge/AdobeForms.

  • Dr. Feelgood says:

    This is not about the scientists creating jobs by hiring techs. Its about your ABI rep, your eppendorf rep, your Halliburtonesque friends at Fisher Scientific,etc etc. Its all about giving us some mad money to spend spend spend. Its unfortunate because my guess is that this infusion of cash to NIH will be cited for the next 10 fucking years as what the feds did for science. This will be the same as when Bush every fucking year congratulated himself for finishing the NIH doubling, while starving the agency for the last 6 years. So enjoy it while it lasts suckers!
    Doc F.

  • MedChemDoc says:

    My concern with the NIH stimulus is how the Universities will use this at tenure time. Will Asst. Profs that got a 2 year R01 get credit for this or will they say "Well, everyone got money during the stimulus. This doesn't count." If so, then don't you think it would be better to turn down the 2 years of funding and resubmit to get longer term funding? Why use up some of your hard earned preliminary data to start from square one again? Also, there are some indications that the stimulus cash will have additional reporting requirements. How fun would it be to report your progress every 3 months or so?

  • Another biomedical researcher says:

    A 2-year R01? Million-dollar challenge grants? Massive and poorly reviewed new equipment grants? This is the best we can do?
    It seems that the R56 should be the major use of NIH stimulus money. Feed a modest amount of money ($250K + F+A, so ~$400K/grant) to a large number of labs, allowing progress on a lot of ideas that have been squeezed out in recent years. This approach works out to 2500 grants per billion dollars spent this way, feeding well peer-reviewed science in a wide variety of areas, while not precluding proper R01 funding of the science (indeed, making the science at least more compelling). You're going to help more suffering labs this way (including new investigator and established investigator) and advance science in a broad way.
    Seems a whole lot more useful than a smaller number of 2-year R01s that will just need to be turned almost immediately into another application. The 2-year R01 seems to be just a killer for new investigators in particular: you get some money, but not enough, and lose the new investigator advantage without really having the time to build the amount of science necessary for a proper competitive renewal. Sure, the 2-year R01 could work well for established investigators. Eh, why worry about the long-term future of the new investigators?
    Targeted supplements to current grants (to bring them to recommended levels) should also be a high priority. Supplements that go to equipment are of particular value in stimulus, since a portion (F+A) of the money won't just sit in university coffers, it will all go to purchases that are moreover of long-term value in science.

  • Anonymous says:

    "The 2-year R01 seems to be just a killer for new investigators in particular: you get some money, but not enough, and lose the new investigator advantage without really having the time to build the amount of science necessary for a proper competitive renewal."
    This is what has me most wary of these awards. One on hand...it is money that can help drive the work forward...but on the other hand...is it worth giving up the new investigator edge that you get on a full 5 year R01?

  • Targeted supplements to current grants (to bring them to recommended levels) should also be a high priority.

    I have been told in no uncertain terms that this is explicitly off the table, and that supplements will have to propose things that were not in the originally-funded application. Supplements that are deemed to merely be requests to restore grants--even severely cut ones--to their study section-recommended funding levels will not be entertained.
    I think this sucks. What could be more "shovel ready" than the science that you have proposed, had reviewed and scored and funded, but that you can't do because of extreme administrative budget cuts?
    What I have been told is that the reason for this is that the stimulus bill prohibits commingling of stimulus bill funds with already appropriated funds, or something like that. If anyone wants to read the stimulus bill and try to figure out what prohibits this, knock yourself out.

  • is it worth giving up the new investigator edge that you get on a full 5 year R01?

    YESSSSSSSSS! Take the motherfucking money now, and leverage off of it to put together a totally kick-ass R01 application--either a competitive renewal or a new R01--for submission in a year or so.

  • Another biomedical researcher says:

    By the way, at least some study sections are looking out for this possibility. I know of one study section that met recently that discussed and scored all applications (no triage, no unscoring). Which sounds like a nightmare, but is at least fair (there are undiscussed/unscored 28th percentile proposals out there insome study sections that could get screwed out of stimulus $ because of the unscoring while weaker grants get funded).

  • pinus says:

    CPP,
    I have heard that R21's are also on the table for some stimulus love. Previously, you had nothing but hate for R21s. Do you think that they are a good idea now (for those who retain neww investigator status- I was the anon up there..forgot to put my name in!)

  • neurolover says:

    "If so, then don't you think it would be better to turn down the 2 years of funding and resubmit to get longer term funding?"
    Geez, why do people even think along these lines? At this time, you *must* accept money unless you know, absolutely know, that there's an alternative coming down the pipe. So, yeah, if someone offers you 2 years, and you have another app for the same thing, and they offer you 5, take the other one, but do not turn down money. The "new investigator" boost is worth giving up like $2 (i.e. the expected value in the future). Take the money and generate some new preliminary data.

  • neurolover says:

    Oh, and, yeah, the tenure committee will discount the 2 year RO1 that you got, because of the stimulus package . . . . But it doesn't matter, because the key is that you need to have some renewable source of funding when you come up for tenure. So, you want to have an RO1, one that is not running out immediately, and you have to convince people that you can get another one. U's would really prefer that you have an RO1 and a renewal under your belt before they tenure you, difficult to do in these times, but that's their real goal.

  • The "new investigator" boost is worth giving up like $2 (i.e. the expected value in the future). Take the money and generate some new preliminary data.

    BINGO!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Oh, and, yeah, the tenure committee will discount the 2 year RO1 that you got, because of the stimulus package
    yeah, and the R01 you got 'cause you happened to fit the RFA, you started in the good days, you have a narrow niche model, your Chair schmoozes the hell out of your IC, you are 'too political', 'it had to be done', you are a woman or minority, blah, blah, blah, blah.
    get the money. do some good science. put in another proposal. repeat.
    there is nothing you can do about people who denigrate your accomplishments. Neither can you do anything about people who over-credit or falsely-credit the accomplishments of others which depended on the above and other factors.
    I'll admit, the two year thing gives me pause. and I've seen an example or two where starting out with too little money (hellooo FIRST award!) or too short a duration hampered the project or the career.
    still, if the investigators in question had received zero funding, they would have had no chance whatsoever. and "hampered" is all relative and in comparison to optimistic what-ifs...
    so I have to agree with PP. If you have anything at all of a 2-year duration, get cracking.

  • pinus says:

    I understand what you are saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    Part of the confusion is that people such as CPP have said that two year grants like the R21 are not worth the effort and people shouldn't spend their time applying for them. I have heard the same from other established investigators...'only apply for R01s from the NIH'. It can is difficult to disregard advice from very successful senior scientists.
    Maybe that is another part of the problem, everybody knows the best way to do things, and much of the advice is different.

  • MedChemDoc says:

    I understand the comments about money now versus possible money later. But, I personally don't think that giving up the new investigator status is worth a 2 year award. NIH does not count R21 against a new investigator because the R01 is the measure of long term, stable funding. So, if you are close to the payline, why give up the chance, lose you new investigator boost for two years of funding? Especially, when you know that you will have to turn right around in 8-12 months to start the process over again.

  • neurolover says:

    "'only apply for R01s from the NIH'."
    But, this advice doesn't change the fact that if they take your RO1, and tell you to do just what you can in 2 years, that you should take what you've got.
    But, I would like to hear CPP's take on whether an R21 makes sense to apply for, if there are funds targeted specifically at R21's. I think part of the objection to them was that they are graded the same as RO1s in their current iteration and funded from the same pool of money. The problem with the R21 was that it was basically the same effort as an RO1, give or take $2 worth, but that it gave you much $$ less money and time. If the math changes, applying for an R21 might change.

  • Part of the confusion is that people such as CPP have said that two year grants like the R21 are not worth the effort and people shouldn't spend their time applying for them. I have heard the same from other established investigators...'only apply for R01s from the NIH'. It can is difficult to disregard advice from very successful senior scientists.

    What I am saying is not inconsistent with this. It appears that NIH is going to be offering 2 years of funding on already-scored R01 applications that are outside the nominal payline. This will surely involve renegotiation of the specific aims with program staff.
    To refuse this funding in the hope of coming in under the payline in the next round is, in my opinion, foolish in the extreme. But I still maintain that it is foolish to spend the time and effort to write 15-page grant applications knowing ahead of time that it can only yield two- years of funding with a total direct cost limit of $275,000 for the whole fucking grant.

  • pinus says:

    I do not have an already scored R01.
    If I did, and somebody offered me 2 years on it, you bet your jameson I would take that money and get to work.
    I am primarily interested in how Challenge grants and any other stimulus targeted RFA's are handled (2 year R01, R21, R56, etc)

  • I am primarily interested in how Challenge grants and any other stimulus targeted RFA's are handled (2 year R01, R21, R56, etc)

    We need to see what the FOAs look like, what the dollar limits are, and how much money is being allocated. Until we know all these things, it is premature to decide how much effort is worth putting into seeking such funds.
    Personally, since I currently have multiple active R01s, my efforts are most likely going to be almost solely devoted to applying for supplements to those R01s. According to program at one of my funding institutes, such supplements will be reviewed by program staff, not study sections.

  • pinus says:

    This is true...until there are specifics no decision can be made.
    I spoke to my PO about an unrelated issue a last week and she told me that I should (I am paraphrasing) have a two year idea at the ready...because I won't have much time.

  • Dave says:

    My understanding is also that most of NIH's bolus will mostly be used to fund scored but not below the payline grants, for 2 years (although this will be up to individual institutes). This gets rid of the money within the 2 years required by the stimulus program, lets Program Officials feel better about all the poor struggling applicants that wouldn't otherwise get funded, and arguably helps tide labs over until bigger funding comes through. Of course we can argue all day about whether this is best use of 'stimulus' money (I don't think it is) or whether it's a bad move for NIH in the long run politically (I think it may be), but that's all beside the point. It's a done deal.
    As for whether one should accept any of this money or not, I'm with CPP. If your choice is to get a 2-year grant versus get nothing, you are a moron if you choose nothing.
    The whole question of 'wasting' preliminary data is also moronic. These 2 year R01s are going to people who, by definition, did NOT make the cut for a regular R01. So nothing is wasted. And if you think you'll never have enough preliminary data for an R01 again, then your whole career is already doomed and your institution made a huge mistake in hiring you.
    If NIH (or anyone else) offers you grant money, TAKE IT!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    The whole question of 'wasting' preliminary data is also moronic. These 2 year R01s are going to people who, by definition, did NOT make the cut for a regular R01. So nothing is wasted.
    You are missing the point. People who have Early Stage or New Investigator status get special consideration for funding. In some ICs this is an explicit change in the funding line to say, 20th percentile instead of 10th percentile.
    ESI/NI applicants are concerned about wasting their qualification for this special consideration for a full-modular / 5 yr proposal by taking a 2yr R01 now.
    It is not an entirely stupid concern in my view. It is debatable whether having had R01 PIship (an "investigators" plus) and using the money to generate some data will make the chances of winning that next R01 better than the NI/ESI boost would do.
    Of course much of this has to do with your models and pace of data collection so YMMV. I think on the whole, however, for the vast majority of ESI/NI readers of this blog that taking the two years if you can win funding is the better strategy. Given that, getting ready to play in the StimulusStakes is a good idea for NI/ESI investigators.

  • Dave says:

    I understand the point, DM. I glossed over it because I think it is silly to forego stimulus funding in hopes of getting a full R01 near-term. I recognize that others' opinions may differ. My opinion assumes two things: 1) that 2-year stimulus grants will be given only to those who didn't make the previous payline, and 2) the payline will not dramatically change in the near future. Therefore, I conclude that: if you didn't make the cut, you didn't make the cut. Refusing funding in hopes that you make the cut is silly; it's simply not facing reality. Take the money, be grateful, and get on with your research.
    I can understand holding out if there is a choice between applying for a 2-year grant or a full R01, and agreed with CPP and you when you argued that it was silly to apply for an R21 over an R01, especially if one has the data and plan for a full R01, or will soon. But in this case, the dice have already been rolled and the grants in question were not funded. The stimulus money is a consolation prize. Take the consolation prize.

  • Odyssey says:

    So I have a question or two. We're going to see a massive infusion of funds that must be spent in two years. Where are the people that will need to be hired going to come from? Despite supposed gluts of grad students and postdocs in this country, I'd be willing to bet that there are not enough available to start immediately. And if you scored yourself some stimulus moolah you'd want people to start straight away. Particularly if you're a NI/ESI. Two years goes by real quick.
    I suspect this will be handled in two ways:
    1) Well funded labs who land some extra cash will move existing personnel onto those grants to save money in their existing R01's for future no-cost extensions (in the event they can't hire new people - if they bother to try). Net stimulus: not much.
    2) Not-so-well funded or unfunded labs who manage to score a stimulus check will scramble madly to find US citizens and/or permanent residents to fill the slots (these will be the quickest to get into the lab). Those that are available (and are not going to labs in #1 above) will be fought over tooth and nail. Labs that miss out (which will be most) will have to take the most qualified foreign students/postdocs they can find in a very short amount of time*, and pray their international offices can get the visas through in a hurry (in an already overloaded visa system...). Net stimulus: a bunch-ish, but it ends suddenly in two years.
    And what happens to all those people at the end of two years? Remember, these are non-recurring funds. There are unlikely to be more positions available at the end of the stimulus period than there are today.
    *I am not slighting foreigners here. I am one after all. This was more a comment on the time needed to get someone from another country here.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Odyssey, I agree with you completely which is why I'm suggesting that the only possible place for genuinely new jobs is the bachelor's level research tech. The stimulus funds will be coming online maybe late spring into the summer, right? So the timing is good for college grads of 2009.

  • Buying a fuckton of equipment and supplies will certainly be stimulating to the economy.

  • new-ass-prof says:

    to CPP (#34): According to program at one of my funding institutes, such supplements will be reviewed by program staff, not study sections.
    And that's the real problem! I don't have a current R01 or a scored grant but the bitchin' on this board is ridiculous. We should be happy with the money and do some good science. But why can't we use peer-review to dole the money out? Reviews are far from perfect but I have zero trust in program staff.

  • But why can't we use peer-review to dole the money out?

    Too slow.

  • Dave says:

    We should be happy with the money and do some good science. But why can't we use peer-review to dole the money out? Reviews are far from perfect but I have zero trust in program staff.

    My thoughts...
    1) Money for science is great, but not if it's distributed in a way that may damage the prospects for long-term stable science funding and exacerbate the anguish of professional scientists and scientist-hopefuls. Several of us have those fears, based on the late 90's NIH doubling disaster. But it's a done deal; the money's in the pipeline. NIH now has to dole it out. Institutes haven't decided exactly how they want to do it yet, except that obviously the ideal is to somehow fund great science that will be done in two years and creates lots of jobs.
    2) Personally, I think many program staff are as scientifically competent as the average peer review scientist, and in general a heck-of-a-lot more well-meaning, better informed, and thoughtful. And I am not just saying this to suck up to any program officers that might be reading this. OK, well maybe I am. But I really do mean it.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Reviews are far from perfect but I have zero trust in program staff.
    Why? They were trained just like you and I in many cases. I hear that it is an uphill struggle for a postdoc without a faculty level appt to get hired although I have little hard data. Many of my POs were once faculty level investigators though, so I do have that data on which to rely. And at least their biases aren't related to scientific competition with current investigators.
    Finally, you had better trust them. Perhaps more accurately, you have to trust them. Or is this news to you?

  • Personally, I think many program staff are as scientifically competent as the average peer review scientist, and in general a heck-of-a-lot more well-meaning, better informed, and thoughtful.
    I agree with this 100%. Without exception, the program staff I have dealt with at a number of different institutes have a very good understanding of the science in their portfolios, and frequently have a broader and more visionary perception of a field than the scientists who are in the trenches.

  • pinus says:

    From the sounds of things, it seems like people not in the Q are going to have to hope that challenge grants are ever so slightly geared to young/new investigators. I think the people that are left out have to to remember that ultimately, this money grab is about stimulating the economy, not helping science.

  • Cashmoney says:

    Dave, DM, CPP: Apple Polish much? HAHHAAHA, you guys are such suck-ups!!!!!!

  • Another biomedical researcher says:

    Having thought about this for a few days, I'm coming to grips with the 2-year R01 as a reasonable (and potentially really good) solution (though I stand by a larger number of R56 grants as a better solution). It's particularly problematic for new investigators (2-year versus 5-year duration of the initial R01, negating many advantages of the new investigator R01), but of course you would take it, even if it means you are very rapidly writing a grant again (against a ton of other people doing the same thing) rather than focusing on directing your research plan with the best long-term goals in mind.
    But, assuming that you don't get a 2-year R01, this approach is VERY advantageous to new investigators who have science that is fundable over the next

  • Another biomedical researcher says:

    Whoops, something (like, the main point), was cut off the last comment.
    Assuming that you don't get a 2-year R01, this approach to spending the stimulus funds is potentially VERY advantageous to new investigators who have science that is fundable over the next

  • pinus says:

    I think they may use the R56 mechanism:
    http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r56.htm
    B) Investigators may not apply for an R56 grant. Competing applications prepared and submitted in accordance with NIH procedures, will be peer reviewed, assigned a priority score and in most cases will receive a percentile rating. The IC will nominate applications for conversion to an R56 from the pool of R01 applications pending award for the current fiscal year. Nominees for the award must be in the most meritorious half of the priority or percentile range. Previously approved, but inactivated, applications from this time period may be considered and, if awarded, will be converted to an R56.
    C) Note: Investigators do not apply for an R56 grant. Applications for conversion to an R56 will be selected by IC staff from reviewed R01 grants near the payline margins.

  • Another biomedical researcher says:

    Aha, the less than symbol killed the rest of the last 2 comments. A third try:
    Assuming that you don't get a 2-year R01, this approach to spending the stimulus funds is potentially VERY advantageous to new investigators (and others) who have science that is fundable over the next less than 2 years. In the past few years a given grant quality (say 15th %ile in normal circumstances) has had its %ile creep up due to the large number of returning great grants (10-15 %ile) plus the normal new grants. With a large number of recurring R01 submissions removed from the queue, a "normal" 15th %ile NI grant may actually get a 15th %ile score and have a chance of being funded. So for me, the lesson is, take advantage of the brief bubble (before the crush of applications for renewals of the 2-year R01s comes in)!

  • My guess is that they will not use the R56 mechanism. They will just offer two-year R01 competing segments with renegotiated Specific Aims.

  • new-ass-prof says:

    Dave, DM, CPP: Wow, I've never seen such strong party-line sentiments from you guys. Why doesn't just NIH mail every tenured professor a large check?
    review is too slow
    What? Given that you are going to spend the money over two years why would a couple months matter?
    POs already have enough say in this, so why would you want some random dude to decide the direction of science? If they are so good, why not just do away with study sections period. As I said in my original post an emergency study section could be called to evaluate R21s.

  • What? Given that you are going to spend the money over two years why would a couple months matter?

    A couple months? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Dave, DM, CPP: Wow, I've never seen such strong party-line sentiments from you guys.
    My poor witling you are confusing the prescriptive with the descriptive in your tarassis. It is all well and good to speak hopefully of how things should be. Sometimes a long sustained drumbeat of critique can edge the ocean liner onto a slightly improved heading.
    Right now, this ain't. gonna. happen.
    So we default to the immediately practical mission of this blog. Trying to persuade those in our audience to take the steps we think might help them to scoop up the NIH funding, leaving their bescumbered gongoozler peers in their wake.

  • Dave says:

    tarassis
    Wow. I had to look that one up.

  • Odyssey says:

    tarassis
    Wow. I had to look that one up.

    Me too. I like it. Must work it into a conversation today.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Make sure y'all mention you got it from Abel Pharmboy, I did.

  • Becca says:

    I got it from Agnes...

  • makura says:

    I was wondering if anyone knows about the payline that will be considered for funding out of this stimulus money. My R01 was scored 20 percentile (and I am a new investigator), do I have a chance?

  • I was wondering if anyone knows about the payline that will be considered for funding out of this stimulus money. My R01 was scored 20 percentile (and I am a new investigator), do I have a chance?

    You surely have a chance to at least get two years. Talk to your program officer!

  • Dave says:

    My guess is that they will not use the R56 mechanism. They will just offer two-year R01 competing segments with renegotiated Specific Aims.

    Yep. I was told today: Depending on the institute, if you were within 10% of payline, you probably have an R56 coming your way.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    ah, just checking but is that actually 10% of the payline (meh) or 10%ile points (woot) above the payline?

  • Dave says:

    My understanding was that if payline was 10%, everyone between 10 and 20% (who wouldn't normally get funded) gets considered for an R56.

  • Amy says:

    Is it just me, or do the Challenge Area Topics sound like they wrote them AFTER they had ALREADY PICKED who will get funded? This is a common tactic in the government - write your job description with such specificity that only the person you WANT to get the job can qualify!

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