I think I feel weak in the knees.
A Program Official from the NIH actually giving advice other than to "revise and resubmit"?
Over at writedit's epic comment thread on NIH Paylines & Resources I found two comments which violate the rules of the NIH world as I know it.
I remember someone said that an email from the PO emphasizing if the resubmission got a worse score ( a higher score), that score would override the first one. And it happened on someone, unfortunately.
Oh pshaw. Someone once heard of something that supposedly happened to...wait, what's this?
My PO sent us an e-mail saying that until NCI had it's budget for FY2011 we wouldn't know and from FY2005-FY2010 that decision hasn't been made until March/April. She also told us for the K22s 10-29 had a promising chance of funding and 30-40 were in the gray (of course I have a 30). She did caution about resubmitting because if you resubmit and your score gets higher and they decide they can fund at the original level, they have to go with the most recent score.
Ok, now that sounds a bit more first person and solid. I have never, ever heard such a thing and it flies in the face of one of my most fundamental understandings of PO behavior. Any request for speculation about the chances of a borderline score getting funded is met by the PO Zombie Mantra: "I advise you to revise and resubmit to see if you can improve your score".
My understanding has always been that so long as a score is on the books (hasn't been administratively removed or whatever they call it) it is fair game for Program to decide to fund it for whatever reasons. This is not to say it is likely. Not even to say all scores are equally likely to be picked up, even if Program really, really likes the proposal. But it is possible.
It has also been my impression that every so often on study section I would see a situation where a borderline score went backward on the next revision and, lo and behold, the penultimate (better scoring) version of the application was the one funded. This would explain the inevitability of the Zombie Mantra, right? There is no cost (in the eyes of the PO who cares not for your time spent revising the grant) involved so why not prepare a revision?
Am I deluded on this? Does the policy just vary from IC to IC?