Sample R21 grants with Summary Statements from NIAID

Apr 26 2012 Published by under Grant Review, NIH, NIH Careerism, NIH funding

As I previously noted (somewhat critically) that the NIAID had posted sample R01 grants and the corresponding summary statements. Well, they've added some R21 applications to the page.

Again, I wonder how useful this really is for most applicants. First thing you notice is that it takes a perfect score to get funded. Three of the four received 10s and the fourth limped home with an 11. Remember, the study section score range starts at 1, which is then multiplied by 10 after the voting of the entire panel is averaged.

Then there's this (emphasis added):
From the Dow summary statement's resume of discussion: "Strengths of the application include the accomplished investigator and research team, strong preliminary data, the direct doable and logical set of experiments, and the likelihood of paradigm shifting insights into meliodosis"

From the resume on the Starnbach app: "Strengths of the application include the innovative use of the novel GPS strategy, compelling preliminary data, an investigator with a strong bacterial pathogenesis research track record, an excellent and appropriate set of collaborators, and a high degree of confidence that import results will emerge from these studies."

Weis, individual critique #2: "Strong and compelling preliminary data is presented that indicate a high likelihood of success"

Well, at least NIAID is telling it like it is with these examples.....

19 responses so far

  • Dr Becca says:

    The preliminary data thing is pretty frustrating. Where's the funding for straight-up IDEAS, man??

  • Dave says:

    Funny how there are no "average" applications that would be far more useful to the "average" applicant.

  • physioprof says:

    First thing you notice is that it takes a perfect score to get funded.

    Dumshitte, what the fucken hell are you talking about? Posting R21s with perfect scores tells you nothing about the motherfucken NIAID R21 payline.

    You know what tells you about the motherfucken NIAID R21 payline? The motherfucken NIAID payline Web page:

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/researchfunding/paybud/pages/paylines.aspx

    You wanna guess what the motherfucken 2012 NIAID R21 payline is?

  • drugmonkey says:

    You are missing the point PP....I'm talking about the value of these as examples . Leading with perfection and/or other unattainable characteristics (like the amazingly productive renewal R01) Seems less than helpful.

  • physioprof says:

    First thing you notice is that it takes a perfect score to get funded.

    This sentence is written in some language other than English, but it just looks like English?

  • BugDoc says:

    Whoa there, DM! You were sounding all cynical about the system for a sec which had me kinda confused....

    Starnbach is awesome; also at Harvard Med, which probably didn't help at all.

  • drugmonkey says:

    If you think I am less than cynical about NIH then you are reading my blog with confirmation blinders...

  • BugDoc says:

    I don't even know what confirmation blinders are....but you're probably right.

  • anon says:

    I got an R21 with little or no preliminary data. It wasn't with the NIAID, but their payline sucks. I was told that "no preliminary data" is NOT allowed to be used as a hit against an R21 application.

  • Chebag says:

    This just shows the NIH can't get control over their reviewers! If consideration of preliminary results isn't supposed to sway the evaluation, then why is this part of the application ending up in the summary statements? Clearly review is broken. They should review R21s in their own study sections...with reviewers that have had at most 1 R01.

  • Dave says:

    Well in the Weis application, the preliminary data that was included in the application was a single Western as far as I could tell. However, they obviously had one or two previously published papers which were also used as preliminary findings. I don't know much about this mechanism, but I would imagine that the most important thing is a proven track-record of highly novel work. Could be wrong though.

  • Joe says:

    @Chebag "They should review R21s in their own study sections..."
    At least at NIAID, R21's are reviewed in their own study sections with R03's and R15's (other small grants).

    @Anon "I was told that "no preliminary data" is NOT allowed to be used as a hit against an R21 application."
    Lack of prelim data cannot be used to ding an application, but the presence of strong prelim data is a real asset (as you can tell from the summary statements). R21's have gotten a lot harder to get lately. I would not submit one without prelim data.

  • Joat-mon says:

    There was essentially no data being included in those applications. I don't think grants like those actually get funded by NINDS or NIMH.

  • Sunny-g says:

    I have two unscored R21's (A0 and A1). In the A0, two out of three reviewers claimed that I had presented insufficient amount of prelim data to support the idea (they also indicated specifically what they wanted to see as supporting data). In the A1 I used two graphs to address the reviewers' concerns. This time, one reviewer indicated that our grant was "incremental" of what we had been doing.

  • anon says:

    Joat-mon: a quick search on NIH Reporter brought up nearly 900 R21 projects that are supported by either NINDS or NIMH.

    Sunny-g: "insufficient data" on a review is a bullshit statement (I don't mean from you, but from the reviewer). I've seen that now no less than a thousand times, and no amount of data will ever suffice in a response (especially in an R21 application). I now think it's meaningless dribble that a reviewer will write in cases where they do not understand the project that you are trying to propose. I've found that more than half the battle is in the writing itself, and making clear what the expected outcome of the project will be. Once you overcome that, the reviewers can understand you, and their responses to your writing will make sense. Just my 2 cts.

  • ecologist says:

    The NIH rules for R21 proposals explicitly say that "No preliminary data is [sic] generally required" and, in more detail later, "No preliminary data are required but may be included if available."

    Not "limited" or "few" or "just a bit of" preliminary data. NO preliminary data. I would be sorely tempted to submit an R21 with a section titled Preliminary Data that consists of one sentence, saying that since no preliminary data are required, none are included. Just to, you know, mess with the reviewers.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    When I saw NIAID release these-I was initially excited. After all, this is my funding agency...and then I meandered over and looked at them. It is not surprising that these d00ds got funded-they are the rockstars sitting nicely in rockstar places.

    What would be helpful are 'real' apps-meaning an app that hasn't been airbrushed with magical rockstar pixie dust. I want an app with cellulite, damnit!--That would be helpful!

  • Dave P says:

    I am from a not so well known research institution and I have a currently funded R21 from NIAID. The A0 had no preliminary data and received a 30 and the A1 had preliminary results to address part of the reviewer's concerns and it received a 10. For us I think the enthusiasm was generated by the angle of proposing to use a similar approach that we had published in a high-impact paper to a different disease of interest to NIAID.

  • drugmonkey says:

    You remind me that I haven't looked at what my favorite ICs have been doing with R21s in awhile. Wonder if there was a rush of them funded b4 Sept 30.

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