Posts Tagged ‘NIH’

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.


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.

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.

NIH’s $200 Million Challenge Grants (From SCIENCE Magazine)

May 5, 2009

“The preliminary numbers are in: As of today, the National Institutes of Health has received more than 10,000 applications for its Challenge Grants, NIH officials say. (The deadline was 27 April with an extension for making corrections.) The agency tagged $200 million of its $10.4 billion in the recent stimulus bill for the competition, which covers research on dozens of specific topics. If NIH funds only 200 of the $1 million, 2-year grants, as initially proposed, that will put the success rate at a mere 2% (compared with roughly 20% for a regular NIH research grant). Individual institutes could decide to fund more grants, but that will depend on how proposals fare in peer review, NIH officials say. Reviews begin mid-May and results will be out in late July.”



NCI gets a boost in funding

April 21, 2009

After several years of flat budgets, The National Cancer Institute (one of the NIH Institutes which, unusually, has a separate appropriations process from the NIH as a whole) received a nearly 3%  budget increase this fiscal year.

Among the highlights, of relevance to SF State:

  • An increase in the NCI payline to fund a greater number of meritorious investigator-initiated projects. The payline is the funding cutoff point for grant applications that is set at the beginning of a fiscal year. This year’s budget increase will take NCI’s payline from the 12th to the 16th percentile, with further increases to the 25th percentile likely for two year and longer-term grants.
  • More grants to first-time investigators
  • Help to universities for assisting and training new faculty investigators

To view a webcast of NCI Director Niederhuber’s speech at AACR:  Text at:

AREA success rates? Curious minds want to know

April 21, 2009

For 2008, here are AREA success rates, by Institute/Center.  For I/Cs with low numbers of submissions, please consider that in your guesstimates as to your likely success rate.  A glossary of the Institute names below can be found here:

Fiscal Year NIH Institutes/Centers Number of Applications Reviewed Number of Applications Awarded Award Amount2 Success Rate3
2008 NIAAA 7 2 $410,102 28.6%
2008 NIA 31 6 $995,329 19.4%
2008 NIAID 75 23 $4,954,233 30.7%
2008 NIAMS 22 4 $739,438 18.2%
2008 NCCAM 9 2 $420,388 22.2%
2008 NCI 88 22 $4,663,857 25.0%
2008 NIDA 20 6 $1,290,433 30.0%
2008 NIDCD 13 6 $1,291,144 46.2%
2008 NIDCR 8 2 $449,250 25.0%
2008 NIDDK 43 8 $1,635,625 18.6%
2008 NIBIB 16 2 $447,000 12.5%
2008 NIEHS 24 8 $1,552,679 33.3%
2008 NEI 17 6 $1,279,877 35.3%
2008 NIGMS 167 53 $11,107,156 31.7%
2008 NICHD 44 8 $1,550,717 18.2%
2008 NHGRI 2 1 $193,500 50.0%
2008 NHLBI 55 23 $4,927,178 41.8%
2008 NLM 1 0 $0 0.0%
2008 NIMH 29 7 $1,433,878 24.1%
2008 NINR 33 6 $1,261,672 18.2%
2008 NINDS 53 17 $3,568,677 32.1%
2008 NCRR 1 0 $0 0.0%
2008 FY TOTAL 758 212 $44,172,133 28.0%

AREA R us Workshop for AREA awards June 4

April 21, 2009

Thursday June 4 3:30 – 5 PM in the Collaboratory, Burk Hall Room 229  Leti Marquez-Magana and Laura Burrus from COSE will talk about their AREA awards.       

In case you haven’t see it (just came out today) an RFA is now out for the NIH AREA award. This is a special mechanism for universities that don’t normally compete well for NIH R01s – our faculty are eligible, and COSE faculty are newly eligible under this RFA ! Deadline for proposals 9/24/09.

Note that
– the “S” mechanism is excluded from the eligibility criterion (this is VERY good), so SCORE grants don’t count against eligibility ceiling

– because this is Stimulus (ARRA)-related, there is a one-time deadline, no resubs, and NO renewals (normally the AREA awards are renewable) (this is not so good)
– the total award amount (direct costs up to 3 years) has been increased to $300K (this is good)
only 50 will be awarded (not so good)
 – Money will be apportioned to the NIH Institutes and Centers (I/Cs) which means that the usual Institute suspects will get the most awards to hand out (ie, NCI, NHLBI and the like)

NIH to Hold ARRA Planning Meeting

April 7, 2009

On April 16, the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health will a hold meeting to discuss implementation plans associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The meeting, from 3-5 p.m. EST, will be open to the public. An agenda will be posted at . This is the highest ranking advisory committee in NIH. .