NIH AREA eligibilities, clarified

June 17, 2009

OK, here are the facts. They are complicated. Please hang on.

For the June submission of traditional AREA, ONLY THE SCHOOL OF NURSING FACULTY ARE ELIGIBLE

For the September submission of the Stimulus AREA, ALL FACULTY FROM ALL SCHOOLS (as long as they are doing health-related research) ARE ELIGIBLE

For the October submission of the traditional AREA, all bets are off.  There are indications that all faculty will be eligible, but we must wait until the guidelines are released.

So we can plan, please answer the polls below.


last post from this site

July 8, 2009

From this point forward, follow Jaylan Turkkan’s research blog at

Summary statements, Part Deux

June 17, 2009

What do reviewers react to in reviewing proposals from our Science and Engineering faculty? Three years ago an analysis was done of 6 summary statements after R01s were reviewed and were mostly unscored.   Both “good” and “bad” summary statement comments were summarized (the ordinate indicates number sof comments appearing for each category):

R01 analysis

R01 analysis

So, despite worries that productivity is the main stumbling block (bad teaching loads and the like), instead the criticisms centered on the usual things that grant proposals fail on:  too ambitious,  feasibility not demonstrated, and poor writing (confusing layout of ideas and plans).  Note on the praiseworthy factors that our S&E faculty appear to be innovative and well-qualified.  Where there are pilot data, they are convincing.  Less frequently occuring good comments were on the collaborations (perhaps these proposals didn’t include many) and on the research environment of the Bay area.

Grant funded staff and budget cuts

June 17, 2009

Many have asked whether grant-funded staff will be affected by potential furloughs. We have posed the question to HR”s AVP Lori Gentles and she is monitoring that issue across the CSU campuses and with the Chancellor’s office. 

We will post new (reliable) information when we know it.

Do I need pilot data? And other ponderables

June 10, 2009

Yes Virginia, you do need pilot data.  I just finished reading summary statements for an innovative research proposal involving children , that was theory-based and had a strong team. This was an R01 to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH).  The reviewers fell all over themselves praising the proposal, but it only achieved a 36.5 percentile score.  The problem? There were no pilot data *for the control condition*.  At the risk of ranting, here is a continuum of desirability in submitting NIH proposals re: pilots (from less desirable to most):   pilot data,  pilot data that show an effect,  pilot data that show an effect in the direction hypothesized in the proposal, published pilot data in the direction hypothesized, pilot data published in a strong peer-reviewed journal with yourself as either first or last author.  You may ask yourself, is the last one really necessary? Well, consider that you have 2 times up at bat. That means you *must get scored* on the first submission in order to get a fundable score on the resubmission.  And consider the competition.

NIAID grant tutorials

June 9, 2009

The Natl Inst for Allergy and Infectious Diseases has a very nice web page devoted to helping investigators with their grant proposals.

Included is the “NIH grant cycle” that leads investigators around the process of applying for and managing their research grants.

I think they do a very good job of decoding mysterious facets of grants at NIH.

Software helps children with disabilities tell stories (from the BBC)

June 9, 2009

Software ‘gives children a voice’

Child with cerebral palsy with a classroom assistant
Pupils with communication problems have been testing the software

Scientists claim to have developed the first technology of its kind to allow children with communication problems to converse better.

‘How was school today?’ is software to help children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy communicate faster.

The system is the result of a project between computing scientists from the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee, and Capability Scotland.

Dr Ehud Reiter, from the University of Aberdeen’s school of natural and computing sciences, said: “How was school today? uses sensors, swipe cards, and a recording device to gather information on what the child using the system has experienced at school that day.

“This can then be turned into a story by the computer – using what is called natural language generation – which the pupils can then share when they get home.

“The system is designed to support a more interactive narration, allowing children to easily talk about their school day and to quickly answer questions.”

full story at:

Busy busy busy

June 9, 2009

NIH Receives 20,000 Applications for Challenge Grants Through the Recovery Act
More Than 18,000 Scientists to be Involved in Peer Review Process

More on women in Science – National Academies Report

June 4, 2009

The report was Congressionally mandated in 2004/5.   This segment, from the NY Times June 2:

“The prospects for women who are scientists and engineers at major research universities have improved, although women continue to face inequalities in salary and access to some other resources, a panel of the National Research Council concludes in a new report.

In recent years “men and women faculty in science, engineering and mathematics have enjoyed comparable opportunities,” said the report, issued Tuesday. It found that women who applied for university jobs and, once they had them, for promotion and tenure were at least as likely to succeed as men.

But compared with their numbers among new Ph.D.’s, women are still underrepresented in applicant pools, a puzzle that offers an opportunity for further research, the panel said.

The panel said one factor outshined all others in encouraging women to apply for jobs: having women on the committees appointed to fill them.”

Article just published by our provost-to-be Sue Rosser about Women in Science

June 4, 2009

Mike Goldman sent me this link (thanks !).

This was in the latest issue of Academe (American Association of University Professors)