I apologize that I have not posted more recently. I, like virtually every other biomedical scientist in the United States, have been busy writing grant proposals for the NIH portion of the federal government’s stimulus package. There are a number of calls for proposals, and part of the fun in the last month has been trying to figure out the odds of success for each, and how to match the requirements. They include:
- Administrative supplements to existing grants with no change in scope–these are not peer reviewed, but are at the discretion of NIH staff.
- Extensions to existing grants that extend the scope–these will be peer-reviewed
- “Challenge grants” that are entirely new and should propose exciting science.
- “Grand opportunity” grants that are entirely new and should propose exciting science that is more expensive
- Summer research grants for students
These are all great opportunities, and they all are on a timescale such that they must be spent in 2 years. That is a very short time for new efforts, and so I would think that NIH would mostly select existing projects to just accelerate. Anyway, with so many proposals, the chances of success for any individual proposal will be low. I am involved in at least 7 different proposals from the above list. I am excited about all the projects, and if they are all funded, will pursue them with vigor. It is entirely possible that I will go 0/7.
The beneficial affect of this, however, has been to get people together and thinking boldly. This may lead to good things entirely separately from whether or not they attract stimulus funding. So this last month has been quite stimulating. And I think time spent on these proposals is not wasted, even if they are not funded immediately by the stimulus programs.