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Grant Questions.

12 June 2012

So today, in my continuing avoidance-of-real-work plan, I’m worrying about grants. The two I have out there under review are out there. Nothing good can come from worrying about them now. And I don’t have specific plans for new ones. I did run into a collaborator at a cool lecture I went to yesterday. We put in an NIH R21 last October. We got scored, which is good! It was in the 50th percentile. Not bad for a first submission by a new investigator. I was a little surprised she didn’t want to turn and burn on it (I’m Co-I, she’s PI), and get it back in right away. But she wanted to wait a year and brush up her CV with some more papers and experience. Which is fine. We’ll get the revision in in October I think.

Now I’m also beginning, even though I swore not to think about grants for the next 4 months, to let my brain swim around in the next phase of my grant-submission life. My pilot grant is expiring at the end of October, and with it, all of my funding. I’ll have maybe 6 more months of time, then my boss thinks he might be able to get me another year of bridge funding. But no one is betting on it. That’s why I’m giving some job talks next week. But I also have to think about what grants I’m going to have submitted.

I need to submit an R01 equivalent to follow up on my pilot. Like, need to. It would be stupid and shameful not to. Which means I need some serious ideas. I’m really proud of my pilot study. It was all mine, I designed it, wrote the grant essentially alone, submitted it, and got funded on the first submission. It was exciting and special. I felt like a grown up. Like a real-world researcher.

My question is, and on twitter, several people have already told me “NO!”, why not submit for less money and a shorter time for the R01-equivalent? Offer three years and ask for $450K instead of 4 years and $1.1M? I could cover my salary with that, and actually do the work too, most likely. And I’d have enough left over for data abstracters and a part-time project coordinator. Shouldn’t we be trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars? Wouldn’t a review panel be intrigued by an inexpensive project? I’d love to hear thoughts. I know I have readers who sit on those review boards.

Finally, and here on twitter the answer seems to have been “no one cares”, I wrote in my pilot grant that I would submit to and attend the Winter Simulation Conference 2012. But it’s in Berlin (it was always in Florida). So I can’t go. My funding only pays for domestic travel. Is this a big deal? A little deal? I did what I think I’m supposed to do. I emailed my Project Officer. She seems to like me. She’d tell me if I’m doomed.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 June 2012 09:10

    “Wouldn’t a review panel be intrigued by an inexpensive project?”

    I’ve asked about this at NSF, and the answer was, “No.” The budget was not a significant consideration in making awards.

    • 13 June 2012 21:08

      That seems so strange. I would think value would matter?

      • 16 June 2012 07:20

        They look at whether they’re excited by the science, first and foremost. Everything else – like your budget, your broader impacts, and so on – is secondary,

  2. 12 June 2012 22:25

    If you have valid reasons for the four year study, I would go for it. Reviewers may suggest that you rework to do a 3 year study.

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