Drugmonkey http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org Grants, research and drugs Mon, 24 Oct 2016 22:17:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 77394486 Today in NIHGrant Special Flower Pleading http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/24/today-in-nihgrant-special-flower-pleading/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/24/today-in-nihgrant-special-flower-pleading/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 22:01:22 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9411 It started off with a tweet suggesting the NIH game is rigged (bigly) against a "solo theoretician"...

interesting. Then there was a perfectly valid observation about the way "productivity" is assessed without the all-important denominators of either people or grant funding:

good point. Then there was the reveal:

"It's her first NIH application".

HAHHAHHHAAA. AYFK? Are you new here? Yes. Noobs get hammered occasionally. They even get hammered with stock critique type of comments. But for goodness sake we cannot possible draw conclusions about whether "NIH grant review can handle a solo theoretician" from one bloody review!

This guy doubled down:

Right? A disappointing first grant review is going to "drive a talented theoretical physicist out of biology". You can't make this stuff up if you tried.

and tripled down:

See, it's really, really special, this flower. And a given "line of critique" (aka, StockCritique of subfieldX or situationY) is totes only a problem in this one situation.

News friggin flash. The NIH grant getting game is not for the dilettante or the faint of heart. It takes work and it takes stamina. It takes a thick hide.

If you happen to get lucky with your first proposal, or if you bat higher than average in success rate, hey, bully for you. But this is not the average expected value across the breadth of the NIH.

And going around acting like you (or your buddies or mentees or departmentmates or collaborators) are special, and acting as though is a particular outrage and evidence of a broken system if you are not immediately awarded a grant on first try, well......it is kind of dickish.

There is a more important issue here and it is the mentoring of people that you wish to help become successful at winning NIH grant support. Especially when you know that what they do is perhaps a little outside of the mainstream for a given IC or any IC. Or for any study section that you are aware of.

In my opinion it is mentoring malpractice to stomp about agreeing that this shows the system is awful and that it will never fund them. Such a response actually encourages them to drop out because it makes the future seem hopeless. My opinion is that proper mentoring involves giving the noobs a realistic view of the system and a realistic view of how hard it is going to be to secure funding. And my view is that proper mentoring is encouraging them to take the right steps forward to enhance their chances. Read between the summary statement lines. Don't get distracted with the StockCritiques that so infuriate you. Don't use this one exemplar to go all nonlinear about the ErrorZ OF FACT and INCompETENtz reviewers and whatnot. Show the newcomer how to search RePORTER to find the closest funded stuff. Talk about study sections and FOA and Program Officers. Work the dang steps!

Potnia Theron was a lot nicer about this than I was.

That post also got me wandering back to an older post by boehninglab about being a Working Class Scientist. Which is an excellent read.

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Query of the Day: Career Self-Awareness http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/24/query-of-the-day-career-self-awareness/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/24/query-of-the-day-career-self-awareness/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:24:58 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9415 Aptitude for different roles in academic science is a tricky business. Until a person has been serving in a particular capacity, we never really know how well they will do. Sometimes one is very surprised, on both the "more capable"and "unexpected disaster" fronts.

And yes, I am fully aware that Imposter Syndrome gets in the way of self-assessment.

I am also aware of the Peter Principle.

Nevertheless the question of the day is whether you think about those future roles that you might reasonably be considered to fill. Do you have a firm idea of your strengths and weaknesses as an academic/scientist? Are there certain roles you could never do, wouldn't be good at? Are there other ones you just *know* are right for you if only given the chance?

I think that I do. At my stage, these next-steps are mostly leadership roles for which I am utterly unsuited. I know this about myself and there is no way I would pursue them or feel slighted if passed over for that behind-the-scenes grooming/encouraging process.

I see other people who I think are eminently suited to be leaders of larger collectives. I've been able to observe several people who ascended to power (ahem) from petty to very grand indeed. I think I know what sorts of people do well and I am not that. At all.

Of course this post isn't really about me but rather about those that do not seem to be aware of themselves. I marvel at that phenotype that doesn't seem to recognize their own skill set and the strengths and limits that they express.

This got me to pondering and of course I am now curious about your experience, Dear Reader.

Do you feel as though you have a good assessment of your suitability for various next-roles that might lie ahead of you?

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Thought of the Day: SFN http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/18/thought-of-the-day-sfn/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/18/thought-of-the-day-sfn/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:22:18 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9407 I didn't repost my annual SFN suggestion to go talk to Program yet.


I'd almost rather Open Thread this idea for this year. A certain person who shall remain nameless seems to be of the opinion that I must surely annoy the ever-loving hell out of my Program Officers. This could very well be the case, I don't know.

Do you go talk to Program at SFN, Neurofolks? What's your plan? What do you get out of it?

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NINDS tweaks their approach to the F32 / NRSA http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/17/ninds-tweaks-their-approach-to-the-f32-nrsa/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/17/ninds-tweaks-their-approach-to-the-f32-nrsa/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:03:01 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9403 NOT-NS-17-002 indicates that NINDS will no longer participate in the NIH-wide parent F32/NRSA funding opportunity because they will be customizing their approach.


As previously described in NOT-NS-16-012 and NOT-NS-16-013, NINDS is restructuring its funding support for postdoctoral researchers.  Beginning with the December 8, 2016 due date, research training support for postdoctoral fellows under the F32 activity code will be available through NINDS using PAR-16-458 "NINDS Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Training of Postdoctoral Fellows (F32)."  This NINDS F32 will support postdocs who are within the first 3 years of research training in the sponsor's laboratory, and includes several other key differences from the parent F32. Most notably, applicants are only eligible for the NINDS F32 prior to starting, or within the first 12 months of starting, their postdoctoral training in the sponsor's laboratory or research environment. Because of the very early application, no preliminary data are expected.  It is anticipated that another Funding Opportunity Announcement for postdocs, which utilizes the K01 activity code, will be published in time for the February 12, 2017 initial receipt date. This will be available to applicants in their second through fourth year of cumulative postdoctoral research experience (see NOT-NS-16-013). 

I remember the initial troll on this but managed to overlook the part where they were going to have a new K01 announcement focused on later-stage postdocs.

I like this, actually. We've gotten into a situation where F32s are stuck in the escalating-expectations holding pattern of endless revisions and resubmissions lately. I just don't see the point of a 3rd year postdoc writing for "training" support that will only arrive in year 4 or 5. Particularly when at that point the postdocs who are gunning hard for a faculty research type job should be focusing on the K99/R01. This has been a waste of time, let the awardees languish for extra time so that they get at least a year or two on the F32 and make a mockery of the idea of the F32.

I am likewise encouraged that instead of leaving the 2+ year postdocs at the tender mercies of the K99/R00 process, NINDS has a fill-in with a K01. I note that their warning notice on this looks good.

The NINDS K01 is intended for candidates with a Ph.D. or equivalent research doctoral degree. Candidates will be eligible to apply for the K01 anytime within the second through fourth year of cumulative mentored, postdoctoral research experience, and may be supported by the NINDS K01 within the first 6 years of cumulative postdoctoral research experience. Successful K01 applications will be designed to facilitate the continuation of outstanding, innovative projects, combined with career development activities that will prepare outstanding postdoctoral, mentored investigators for an independent research career. The K01 application will describe a project that, as demonstrated by preliminary data collected by the applicant, holds promise to result in highly significant results and future discoveries. The K01 candidate will continue to be guided by a postdoctoral mentor, but will be primarily responsible for oversight and conduct of the research project. By the end of the proposed K01 award period, the candidate will be poised to begin an independent research career and will have a well-developed, highly significant project that he/she can take with him/her to an independent research position.

The devil, of course, is in the details. In my most frequent experience, the K01 tends to be won by people already in quasi-faculty positions. People who have been promoted to "Instructor" or "Assistant Research Project Quasi-faculty but not really Scientist" or whatever word salad title your University prefers. I do not see this being favored for award to any old run of the mill year 2 postdoc. Maybe your frame of reference differs, DearReader?

It will be interesting to see how this is used in practice. Will it only be for the people who just-miss on the K99/R00? Or will it occupy the place currently occupied by the F32 with successful applicants having 2-3 years of postdoc work under their belt before applying? [Mayhap these are the same thing these days?]

But I digress.

The most pressing issue of the day is whether the NINDS will succeed in funding 1) a substantial number of F32s from applicants who are finishing their graduate studies and 2) from first year postdocs without much Preliminary Data in the application.

In my estimation if they don't get to at least 50% of awards on #1, this isn't working.

I also predict that the #2 scenario is going to produce a lot of applications with lots of Preliminary Data, just stuff that wasn't completed directly by the applicant herself.

Thoughts folks? Would you like to see this extended to your favorite ICs?

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Floor 13 and the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/14/floor-13-and-the-society-for-neuroscience-annual-meeting/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/14/floor-13-and-the-society-for-neuroscience-annual-meeting/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2016 18:51:20 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9397 When the neuroscientists in my audience show up in San Diego next month for the Annual Meeting, they will not be assigned a room on Floor 13 of their hotel. How do I know this? Because in the US of A we are so frickin' superstitious about a number that we mis-number hotel floors. Oh, there will be people on the 13th floor of hotels all right, it is just that we call it the 14th floor.

Because, reasons.

A notification of poster locations came out today from the SFN and it provides the convenient navigational advice about how to locate the boards for a given poster assignment.

Hall B: Poster Rows AAA-OOO

I didn't think that much about this until a tweep noted that assignment to any of the boards in section KKK raised an eyebrow.

Is it a little thing? Yeah, it probably is. Is it silly? No, not if it bothers anyone.

But what I take away from this is yet another reminder that there are probably very few black people in the Society for Neuroscience in any sort of position to notice this sort of business in advance and say "hey, maybe we can just skip KKK like the way a hotel skips floor 13?".

I dunno. Maybe I'm just sensitized because we have a main stream Republican candidate for President of the United States who is overtly courting the vote of the KKK.

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Thought of the day http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/14/thought-of-the-day-47/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/14/thought-of-the-day-47/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:47:59 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9394 Please explain to me why we are supposed to coddle the supposedly normal or centrist Republicans at this point. And pat them soothingly and give them cookies because finally, at this late date, they have discovered Trumpism is horrible.

What is to be gained here?

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A Political Speech You Need to Watch http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/13/a-political-speech-you-need-to-watch/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/13/a-political-speech-you-need-to-watch/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2016 19:42:35 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9392

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More Projects for the Donors Choose Drive for 2016 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/11/more-projects-for-the-donors-choose-drive-for-2016/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/11/more-projects-for-the-donors-choose-drive-for-2016/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:39:40 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9385 Nice going folks! The first day saw the full funding of the projects of Mrs. Lucero and Mrs. Dillon. Good progress on the Literacy project of Ms. Gover [Update: Fully funded!] as well.

In the event that one fully funds, I have a few more for your consideration.

Arizona [Update: Fully funded!]: Mrs. Rogers seeks chromebooks for her classroom.

My Native American students are unique, visual, and intuitive. They perform better to culturally responsive teaching and they love to work in cooperative teams. Technology has opened a window for them to explore and go beyond the boundaries of their beautiful landscape at the reservation.

Just recently I learned about Chromebooks and Google Classroom. We were very fortunate to qualify for a free Google Classroom school-wide account. I've been teaching my students about the "cloud" and how I can post assignments and they can submit them without printing them and waste so much paper.

Do I even need to mention that my kids' classrooms have had tablets and laptops for many years now? And we aren't even in a fabulously well-to-do school district. Let's help this highest poverty classroom keep pace. This project is matched by a Best Buy initiative so your donation is doubled.

The classroom of Mrs. Van Doorp seeks help for purchasing Hokki stools to keep kids on task.

My students are bursting with energy and have a strong desire to grow and learn. The majority of my students are Native American and due to the low, socioeconomic area we live in, 100 percent of my students receive free breakfast and lunch at school.

Sitting can be hard! So during our instructional day, I try to keep my students moving as much as possible. They rotate through centers during our reading block. During math, they are fluidly moving around the room to complete different tasks and fluency games. My students also have flexible seating options during other parts of our day.

A small donation from you will help make this a reality for these highest poverty elementary students.

South Dakota [Update 10/11: Fully funded! thanks to the person who has been the stalwart behind science blog drives since forever, Thanks Janet!]: My kids have had assignments from Scholastic News all throughout elementary school. Ms. Dunn would like to use these resources in her highest poverty classroom as well.

My students come to school eager to learn. I teach at a Title I school on a reservation. We educate students grades K-6. Our goal is to help our students become life long learners. Because our students live on a reservation, they have very little opportunity to explore the world beyond where they live. They enjoy visiting new places through their readings. Scholastic News helps bring current events to our classroom and allows them to relate to other children their age from around the world.

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Donors Choose Drive 2016 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/10/donors-choose-drive-2016/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/10/donors-choose-drive-2016/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2016 18:53:34 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9371 Seeing as how it is Columbus day and all, I was struck by a thought. Why not focus this years' efforts on schools which serve significant numbers of Native American children?

So I went searching and apparently this is not easy to find on Donors Choose's site. [UPDATE: Use 'reservation' in their search box and you can find quite a number.]

But I also recently saw a quote attributed to Saint Mother Teresa that said "If you can't feed a hundred, feed one." Kind of meaning, if you can't do it all, this is no reason to fail to act.

New Mexico[UPDATE 10/10: Fully funded! Strong work everybody! Page down for more projects.]: I would like to invite you to contribute, in any way you can, to the classroom of Mrs. Lucero. She teaches 6-8 graders at Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque New Mexico, a high poverty school.

Excited, energetic and brilliant kids walk into the room each day eager to engage and share in the lesson. Working with a group of students who represent multiple Native American tribes is refreshing and fulfilling. Our students enrich our classroom as they weave knowledge of their culture and pride into the work and projects they produce in class.

Working in a school that not only provides 100% free lunch, but the opportunity to grow in their sense of identity is truly amazing.

Though many of our students may struggle with balancing a challenging home life with school life, they have high ambitions and we want to help them achieve!

Mrs. Lucero is asking for support to purchase measurement tools: Triple beam balances, compact scales, thermometers, meter sticks..... Oi.

As you know folks, these are the sorts of materials that were just.....available....in many of our schools growing up. If you are like me, reading over these requests lists is painful to see how our communities are refusing to support what we feel are the basics of education in the public schooling systems.

Please consider a donation, no matter how large or small. Every little bit counts and gets this project closer to completion.

Arizona: Ms. Gover's classroom serves 5th grade students in a highest poverty school in Indian Wells, AZ. She is looking to expose her students to a wider range of literature.

My students are excellent scholars. They have all grown up on a Native American reservation. For some of them, the reservation is all they have known. Each student travels no less than 15 miles to get to school every day. Some students travel down dirt roads to reach their bus stop.

For my students, literature is the best way to not only explore their imagination, but places around the world.

These books will expand their horizons and take them places they would never think was possible.

I was a big reader as a child and was lucky to have a household that was filled with books. Although the biggest disappointment I have as a parent is that my kids aren't even remotely as big of readers as I was, our household is able to provide them with just about anything they would care to read, one way or another. Can you help give this high poverty classroom a few more books?

Wisconsin [UPDATE 10/10: Fully funded!]: Mrs. Dillon teaches 6-8th graders in the high poverty Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa School in Hayward, WI. Her special education students need a large table to do their projects on.

My students live on the reservation. The reservation has a school that receives students from K-12. My students are in special education. I have students in 6-8th grade. We inclusion these students into the regular education classroom, giving them support with a special education teacher.

My students live in low income housing.

They see crime being committed almost every day in their neighborhoods. They are needy, looking for attention in every way. They appreciate anything you do for them. Some students do not get full meals at home, so the students get free breakfast and lunch at school.

A table, my friends.

I have students in and out of my classroom on a daily basis. We have group many times during the week. I have a very small table to work with these students. Their papers and projects overlap each other. This makes it very difficult for special education students to focus on their work. I am asking for a longer and wider table for the student to work on. With this table, they will be able to work in an organized fashion.

In an America that is great, teachers would not have to solicit funds for a basic piece of furniture. But here we are. Can you help, just a little, to move this project to completion? There is a Best Buy donation match on this project so your donation counts twice.

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How do you respond to not being cited where appropriate? http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/10/how-do-you-respond-to-not-being-cited-where-appropriate/ http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/2016/10/10/how-do-you-respond-to-not-being-cited-where-appropriate/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:37:44 +0000 http://drugmonkey.scientopia.org/?p=9369 Have you ever been reading a scientific paper and thought "Gee, they really should have cited us here"?

Never, right?


Anyway, the question of the day is what you do about it?

As one wag* on Twitter put it, you could harbor resentment over the slight for next 30 years or so. Naturally, you should transmit your hatred for that other lab to your trainees well into the future. It goes without saying that you will subsequently attack all of that lab's grants and papers, and their academic progeny's grants and papers, when given the slightest opportunity to do so.

You might also just ignore it and let life work itself out. The rest of the field will also have the same thought if your work is actually related to the extent you assume, correct? And what is a citation here and there in the long game, eh?

Oooorrrrrr.... You could send a passive-aggressive**, or just plain aggressive***, email with your relevant papers attached.

What do you prefer, Dear Reader? How has it worked out for you? Is there ever any noticeable result? Other than venting your pent-up spleen?

Do you imagine these scenarios result from genuine ignorance or did the authors have an intent to conveniently fail to cite you? Are there mitigating circumstances of any kind? Is it possible that while you consider your work obviously and necessarily related, that this may not actually be the case?


**Congrats on your incredible paper, really great to see such convergence with our work (attached).

***You are failing to give my postdocs their due you scumbag!

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