Tag: NIH

NCRR requests applications for a Clinical and Translational Science Coordinating Center

The 55 recipients of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) have been invited to apply for an additional award to act as a national coordinating center.

The new center will receive $4 million a year for 5 years ($20 million total) to develop and deliver communication infrastructure (i.e., wikis, forums, other online tools) and to provide administrative support for committee and working group meetings. The center will also be responsible for maintaining CTSAweb.org, the non-governmental website for the consortium of CTSAs. The center won’t be expected to provide any support for research.

A 30-page narrative and supplemental documents are due January 12, 2011, and the new center has an anticipated start date of December 2011.

Full details are included in the RFA.


NSF, NIH, Commerce Dept. announce i6 Challenge

The three agencies have teamed up to introduce yet another “innovation” competition (PDF)–in this case it’s to support “innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.”

The 6 in i6 apparently refers to the six teams that will receive $1 million awards for their projects from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and an additional $6 million that is set aside for related funding through the NIH and NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The deadline for applications to EDA’s part of the program is July 15, 2010. A conference call is scheduled for potential applicants on May 17th.

More information is available at EDA’s i6 site.


NIH director speaking in Chicago on Saturday–webcast available

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will be speaking at 2 pm CDT Saturday at Thorne Auditorium on the campus of Northwestern University in Chicago. The address is hosted jointly by Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

If you can’t make it (or don’t want to risk not getting a seat), you can watch the webcast live.


The weekly news drop

If Representative Lipinski’s National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2010 survives the legislative process intact, NSF will receive a 19% increase in funding over 2010 levels next year (compared to a 7% increase under the president’s proposed budget). The Act calls for a 55% increase in funding over five years to $10.7 billion in 2015. As always, writedit provides a good overview.

Jeff Mervis of AAAS’s ScienceInsider asks whether NSF is taking enough risks.

Former NSF director Guy Stever died this week. The current director comments on the passing of his friend and colleague.

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee of ScienceInsider reports on the National Science Board’s decision to leave information on the state of American’s knowledge and understanding of evolution out of the 2010 report on Science and Engineering Indicators. (Full story is here if you have access to Science.) PZ Myers over at Pharyngula stirs the pot a bit more.

NIH Director Francis Collins rebuked the American College of Pediatricians for using language from one of his books “to make a point against homosexuality.” In this letter the group’s president points school district superintendents across the country to FactsAboutYouth.com where this article uses quotes from Dr. Collins and others to “educate” school officials.

We’re in the wrong business. The real NIH money is in staffing!

Roderic Pettigrew, director of NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, told attendees at the Design of Medical Devices conference that they’ll have to do more with less, and the key is innovation.

Meredith Wadman of Nature reports that the  WiCell Research Institute has submitted an application for NIH approval to fund research involving four Bush-era stem cell lines, including the frequently used H7 and H9 lines. Approval may come in a matter of weeks.

It’s been two weeks since the Dept. of Ed. announced Delaware and Tennessee were the only states to receive awards under the first round of Race to the Top, but you can expect it to stay in the news for a while. Some states have announced doubts about applying again, and a few have said officially they won’t pursue a piece of the remaining $3.4 billion. Others are considering extensive revisions to their applications.

At least one state is taking it’s case to the airwaves. Ed groups are making ad buys to promote New York’s application.

The VP’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, says be on the lookout for $2 billion in funding for education and training through community colleges, including funding partnership with regional industries.


Eliminating the error correction window–comments due

Only a few days left to electronic applications to NIH, AHRQ, and CDC.

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Quoting Gandhi

In a post earlier this year, literary agent Nathan Bransford recounted the experience of a friend who reviews grant proposals for a living. In summary, “Apparently everyone who applies for a grant quotes Gandhi!”

Nathan goes on to explain that in writing queries to find an agent, just as in writing grant proposals, sometimes it helps to step back and ask what everyone else is likely to do and then do something different. Certainly, if you stretch too far toward the different end of the spectrum, you risk alienating the prospective agent (or reviewers and program officers), but the point is still valid.

Good writing is rarely sufficient to get a project funded (though it doesn’t hurt!), and most funding agencies and foundations aren’t keen on funding yesterday’s projects that have just been repackaged in today’s buzzwords. Increasingly, grant makers are asking for explicit statements within proposals describing how a proposed idea or specific approach is innovative, and the profusion of programs to fund innovation further underscores this focus (e.g., herehere, herehere, here, here, and half a dozen other places).

The NIH proposal writing guide presents one approach to distinguishing your research from other work out there:

Is Your Idea Original?

  • Check the literature to verify that the exact project you are considering has not been done before. Search the literature and the NIH CRISP database to minimize overlap with similar studies.
  • Assess the competition. See which other projects in your field are being funded, and consider turning competitors into collaborators to improve the strength of your proposal.
  • Carve out a niche that will allow you to significantly advance knowledge in your respective field. 

Did you catch the “consider turning your competitors into collaborators” bit? That’s not advice you hear every day, and it may be easier said than done. But it may be the best approach if you consider what other people would do and discover someone’s already making headway in your chosen area of research. Or if that’s not appealing, follow the last bullet, and make your own place–be innovative and original, and stake your claim.

Finally, whether you choose to collaborate or innovate or both, put the book of quotations back on the shelf, or at least save the Gandhi quotes for the first draft of your response to reviewers on an unfunded submission (you know the one I’m talking about–that visceral, heated response that makes you feel better but never makes it anywhere near your resubmission).

Here are two Gandhi quotes to get you started:

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.

and

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

But should you despair of ever succeeding, recall this one:

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.


NIH Success Rates-2009

WritEdit has a includes links to the full success rates report, as well as some supplemental information.

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