Posts Tagged ‘advice’

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.

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.