This was originally published July 21, 2010.
After NIGMS Director Berg notified me of his most recent regression analysis of the individual criterion scores, the good Comrade PhysioProf had a conversation. As is our wont. It went something like this.
Comrade PhysioProf: The most interesting thing of all the correlations was that investigator and environment are so highly correlated.
Your Humble Narrator: I'm not really surprised. I find environment to be a throw away consideration on panels I've been on. people don't generally propose to do something for which major infrastructure is absent!
CPP: On my last R01 review and my post-doc's NRSA, they waxed poetic about the fucking environment. In the applications, we went on and on about the scientific environment and named a number of specific faculty members whose expertise would be drawn upon blah, blah, blah. I think that shit can actually work.
YHN: Christ what a load of shit
CPP: Dude, it's true! We have an outstanding environment! The food trucks outside the med school are some of the finest in all of biomedical research!
CPP: How funny would it be to actually put that in the facilities sections of an application? "The "Alibertos" food truck is only steps away from our laboratory and provides a level of energy dense food that contributes substantially to the likelihood of success of the proposed specific aims."
YHN: "The "Alibertos" truck returns in evening hours at 6 and 10 pm so that trainees need not leave the lab until 12pm, thus maximizing throughput for these studies"
CPP: I just looked at the instructions for the new application format, and that would actually go in the "Resources" section.
YHN: HAHHAHHAHAAAHAH, you are such a grant geek!!!!!
Additional Reading: http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2009/12/how_critical_is_the_environmen.php