K99/R00 forum

Hey everybody: I took the excellent suggestion of one of my K99/R00 post's regular commenters, "T-man," and created a forum where people can continue to talk about grant advice and whatever else in a more discussion-friendly format. It is at: http://k99r00-land.motionforum.net/index.htm

I decided to require membership to read/write posts there, to prevent spamming and dangerous links being posted, etc. But you are welcome to register with a pseudonym and you don't have to give any personal information beyond an email address. You can always create a pseudonymous gmail address if you want to keep a secret identity. I'll post links to this around so people can find it, and please feel free to link to it and spread the word yourselves, too!

DOD Breast Cancer Idea award information

I have been going over the recent announcements from the DOD about the various breast cancer funding opportunities and I saw this about the Idea award:

Investigators in postdoctoral positions are strongly encouraged to apply.

The awards are for a max of two years and $375,000 DIRECT costs... so pretty decent and substantial amount to potentially create a truly independent opportunity for a postdoc.

It also introduces a 'collaborative option,' that explicitly CANNOT be with your postdoctoral mentor (read: chance to establish an outside relationship, with money attached, with someone else) where the max allowed direct costs are $550,000. And if your work involves population-based studies (presumably would require lots of patient material or recruitment), you can get up to $750,000.

Very interesting... especially in light of all the postdoctoral disgruntlement discussions that have been going around recently. These awards could be your ticket outta there...

NSF sad :(

So, finally I got my "declined" email and reviews. It must have been held in the aether of SNOWMAGEDDON for an extra week--it showed up right after they all got back to work.

On the bright side:

  • the panel summary said the intellectual merit has a lot of exciting potential and that I should be encouraged
  • one of the reviewers read it thoroughly, got all the details, loved it, even went as far as to say parts of it were "stunning"
  • the main issues were preliminary data proof-of-concept related (which I can deal with)
  • they thought the broader impacts were great, well-planned and sophisticated

On the less-bright side:

  • it's always disappointing to read reviews where you can tell the person just didn't "get" it and it colored the panel's discussion (even though clearly the others did "get" it evidenced by their individual reviews, so it wasn't necessarily my communication's fault)
  • most of the things they need to see demonstrated are things I provided literature references for previously demonstrated proof-of-concept (which we can see wasn't good enough)
  • I'm still not sure which PO is really my contact, since the "new" one is still listed in Fastlane and was given as the cognizant PO in the "declined" email... but neither of them has responded personally to my check-in emails asking for clarification, and I am afraid to become annoying by bugging them about my revision

Overall, the reviews are really useful and I am looking forward to knocking down the preliminary experiment pins suggested to make this a much stronger proposal. But it was such a weird experience with the communication style of NSF (and less money allowed even for a CAREER) that I am debating whether I should try to submit this to NIH as an R01 as well (which they only allow with the BIO directorate, and I'm now put into the Chemistry of Life Processes box in CHE...)--but hesitate to try asking about it since I've found it so difficult to get a straight answer from anybody. Hmmmm.

It's like magic...

We hit the 6 week mark, and it is like having a different baby. She sleeps fairly regularly, smiles and wants to play when she wakes up, only fusses when she's hungry plus a bit in the evenings when she's getting tired and easily calms down when held.

I'm sure we'll hit other tough phases, and maybe I am jinxing myself to weeks of cranky baby--but this is really lovely. Something major must happen to their brain chemicals and social development within the course of a day or two, making them suddenly feel like other people make them happy even if they don't bring milk.

Seriously NSF... I'm chewing my fingernails off here!

So, I emailed the PO my grant had been switched over to, but that person said that actually it was still assigned to the previous person. So I contacted the previous person by email, but didn't hear back, so I called and left a phone message this week. I still haven't heard back on either phone or email, but the "Status date" in Fastlane has again changed, to yesterday, but no other change has been made in my Fastlane info... so it's still "pending" with the switched-to PO... WHAT IS GOING ON!!! Clearly somebody went in and did something and the date updated... I'm going crazy here!


ZOMG, my K99/R00 post has passed 200 comments, less than half of which are me answering questions. Thank you to the whole community of followers who have gathered to help answer people's queries and concerns! I am so glad this post helps people who are looking for information on the K99, and I really appreciate all of the help with keeping up on the conversation.

Good wishes to all who come here looking for info on K99 submissions! Come back and share your experiences with us in the comments and keep 'em growing!

(**I'm going to have to find some way to make these searchable or something, lol, like compile a guidebook for download so people can more easily READ these hundreds of comments!!)

New grant reviewer revelation: no "duh" sherlock!

I'm finally seeing how sometimes, as a reviewer, you notice things about someone's proposal that are even cooler than they highlighted themselves. If only they'd recognized the key features of their stuff and presented them in a simpler, more compelling way, your job as reviewer would be a lot easier. When they make italicized statements throughout the "significance" and "innovation" sections that don't actually represent the significant, innovative aspects of their work it is like being led down a big, wide open but uninteresting path through the woods--that just so happens to have a bunch of side trails your leader has mapped that are way cooler-looking, but that they kind of brush off while telling you how well they are mapping this big main road. That's kind of the opposite of what you want to do with a proposal: you want to lead people down the interesting little trails and point out that while you've got a great map for it, the big open main road trail is NOT where you're trying to go.

That doesn't mean I'll dock them significantly just because I had to dig to "get" their proposal and see its potential--but that's why grantsmanship is so important: not all reviewers can figure out your work on their own without you leading them to the most interesting aspects, and if you're not careful your proposal will just look mis-targeted.

I finally get it, lol.