The post-submission pause

May 27 2009 Published by under Grantsmanship, NIH Budgets and Economics

A couple of commenters and YHN were speculating, only partially in fun, that the next couple of NIH grant rounds were high value targets. My rationale is that after this whole ARRA / Challenge wackaloonery passes, people are going to take a little break from writing, get back to doing some science, sit back and see what shakes out from the stimulus package. It was also that case that back before the Challenge details started to overwhelm the discussion, people mentioned getting news that their grants which were sitting just off the prior funding line were going to be funded. So maybe some of those people will heave a great sigh of relief and take a break for a round or two.
This was, of course, just speculation.
Here we are approaching the June deadline for new R01s and I am hearing the first decent rumors...


A reader informed me that the grants handling staff at her University Med School (which is a large recipient of NIH funds if I am doing my math correctly) are reporting that new applications are down to one-eighth of normal. This is one of those places where they would know by now what is going to be submitted for June 5 so we can rule out a last-minute deluge.
One-eighth of normal submissions.
Guess I better see what I can revise for July!!!

16 responses so far

  • Pinus says:

    Hmmmm very interesting...

  • Orac says:

    Odd. I would have predicted exactly the opposite, at least for the October/November (which, alas, is when I should probably submit my competitive renewal if I want even a chance of its being funded without my having to get a no-cost extension). The speculation was that all the rejected ARRA Challenge Grants would be turned into R21s and R01s for October, given that funding decisions are supposed to be made by the end of August.

  • Excellent news! And consistent with what I had been told to expect. Guess who's been targeting an R01 submission for the June round instead of getting caught up in the October deluge!!?? WOO HOOOOOOOO!!11!!!1!

  • Pinus says:

    1/8 of normal submissions
    That is crazy. I misread it originally as 1/8 less. which is nice...but not that extreme.
    I doubt that there will be an across the board drop to 1/8 of normal levels. I can see something like a drop by 30% or so...which would also be great.

  • The one-eighth bit is totally amazing! It would be interesting to see the post-deadline statistics.

  • Luigi says:

    Yup, this one was obvious. As is the coming spike in submissions this fall/next spring as ARRA submissions get recycled. And of course doom year 2011. Avoid doom year submissions. Next window of opportunity is at best mid 2010. But it's not going to be better than now. The morons who fantasized about another NIH doubling under Obama need to face reality; it's just not going to happen. There's not enough money in the budget, and priority is going to shift toward growing health care rather than biomedical research. Who cares if there's a cure for cancer if people can't afford to get it?
    But the second stop for science beggars is still NSF. Remember NSF is beginning a trend of significant budget increases, started under Bush, and NSF applicants in the life sciences are often amateurs compared to the typical NIH proposal hack. NSF is the real window of opportunity, as long as your proposal doesn't seem like an NIH recycle. Think Discovery Channel. There's no modular budget funny business at NSF, though, and reviewers and administrators are happy to take a cleaver to the money requests. So NSF isn't going to fly with your pharmacology department dean in the shiny suit who lives off grift. But you can get your work done with it.
    Also interesting is the potential job situation for 2011. Hiring freezes will be thawing, just in time to replace all the people currently losing tenure for lack of an R01. I mean really, if you are an assistant prof who didn't even manage to get something in the last couple months, you likely never will pay off. Best ditch you for some of the backlog of young blood, even if it means another painful startup package. At least the lab renovations are pretty new.

  • Mad Hatter says:

    At least one of the NIH institutes is definitely using its ARRA money to fund previously scored grants that missed the payline. And my boss was encouraged by his program officer to take advantage of the upcoming "lull" in submissions. We'll see what happens....

  • Pinus says:

    I too was encouraged by my program officer. He seemed to think that this was going to be a sweet spot/opportunity. Wait and see I guess.

  • whimple says:

    If they keep percentiling against the last three cycles, I don't really see how a lull is going to matter, unless submissions go down and stay down, which seems unlikely.

  • At least one of the NIH institutes is definitely using its ARRA money to fund previously scored grants that missed the payline.

    Many of them are doing this. I just received a notice of award for a a grant that was scored in the 20th %ile over a year ago.

  • neurolover says:

    "Also interesting is the potential job situation for 2011. Hiring freezes will be thawing, just in time to replace all the people currently losing tenure for lack of an R01."
    I agree that this is going to happen. People in the pipeline should keep their eyeballs peeled to take advantage. Riding the waves is part of the game.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    CPP: Truncated R01*2 yrs? How were the budget/aims handled? I haven't met anyone with this experience yet.

  • CPP: Truncated R01*2 yrs?

    Nope. R21. They gave me the full modular budget with no administrative cut at all.

  • I wonder how long we'll see these ARRA ripples in the R01 submission totals. Will it lead to an "old professor's tale" that "The June deadline is the luckiest deadline"?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    CPP -- I'm shocked! I thought R21's were for suckers!

  • Dr. Feelgood says:

    Just picked up a P50 from NINDS yesterday, and along with the congratulations from our P.O., they said we get a lovely 17.5% budget cut as do all non-modular grants....grmble grmble....so much for the lab Ferrari....
    Doc F.

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