So, I decided not to resubmit my CAREER award.
It had been reviewed reasonably well, but there are a lot of other things going on that made it hard to get the best possible revision ready in time this year. On the one hand, both me and the reviewers were pretty excited about my Broader Impacts project, and I really want to see that program happen at some point soon. Our preliminary data is coming along nicely and this project is looking really exciting. On the other hand, that data isn't quite to where the reviewers seemed to want it to be. Plus, my Program (which is new this year as it is) is going through a lot of upheaval and almost comprehensively changing staff, meaning there will be no continuity in pretty much the only place you GET continuity in NSF revision review (since the reviewers are almost always a different set of people, unlike NIH where your grant usually goes back to the same group).
Another major issue for me is that trying to shoehorn biomedical research into an NSF-appropriate framework is really difficult. The entire theme of my lab is disease-related. Sure, we develop technology towards understanding disease, and development of the technology itself can be extracted out as a non-health-related goal aimed towards basic understanding of biology. But to reach its full scope, this work really needs to be focused on addressing the needs in human health research. AND to reach its full scope, this work costs a lot of money to do. NSF budgets just don't go big enough to support the kind of work that would need to go into this project. We do everything from chemical synthesis to expensive analytics to molecular biology to cell culture. Each ONE of those aspects requires about an NSF-level budget total. So, to really do this project justice, I think we're gonna have to go with NIH where even with the standard modular budget we will already be at twice an amount that is pushing the limits of reasonable for NSF.
Sometimes no matter how in-the-hand a bird seems, you have to face up to the facts that you can't feed your family on a chicken when there are two turkeys in the bush, at which you have a pretty good shot if you just let go.