Payline limbo: should I revise and resubmit my K99?

We interrupt this regularly scheduled period of non-posting (due to overwhelming busy-ness in work and life, as usual) to share a K99-related question that might be particularly useful to K99 applicants during this waiting phase.

The following question came up at the K99/R00 forum (some details redacted):

I submitted to my K99 to (Institute X) and got a score of (Good Score). Institute X just posted the funding policy for FY11 and it was (slightly >Good Score) for K99 (5 points lower than last year). I called my PO and she said it is "not (definitely) 'fundable', nor it is 'not fundable'." (Ed: i.e. in the grey zone) She suggest me to prepare for revisions if I have time and it wouldn't affect my chance of getting funded for the first submission. It seems very likely that I would get funded on a second trial. The trick is I have already submitted my job applications and get an interview from a top research university and hopefully more to come. Should I wait for another two years to go for a job? Or I should quit now? Very frustrated and confused....

I wanted to share my response with readers here:

Hang in there! Limbo land sucks. The key to understanding your PO's code-language is that she is trying to encourage you without getting herself in the position of having promised funding to someone, from whom she then has to take it away. Since you are under the payline, you very likely might get funded, but since Congress hasn't passed the budget for next year yet, she doesn't know how much money she'll have in her bank account and they might pass a budget that makes things a lot harder for her to fund you that close to the payline. She's not trying to make you confused, she just can't commit until she knows her budget.

My advice is always YES to prepare revisions for resubmission. If you don't prepare a revision, and then you don't get funded, there's no way you can get the grant. But if you do prepare a revision, and DO get funded this time, then oh well, you have put some thought into what you might need to change once you actually start the research. If you do prepare a revision, and DON'T get funded this time, then you have a great chance to get funded next time and even if you get a job in the meantime, there will possibly be workarounds from both the department that hires you and your PO so that you can still benefit from the funding. Just watch the timing of accepting any offers so you don't render yourself ineligible to resubmit, and don't be shy about sharing your good score and its relationship to the projected payline in your job applications.

It is ALWAYS better to have a horse in the race than to not. Keeping your grant in play by working on that revision is always the best decision for your chances at funding.

One thought on “Payline limbo: should I revise and resubmit my K99?

  1. Exactly. I advise to always act as if NewGloriousFuture may be delayed and therefore to maximize outcome assuming the current situation holds. If you revise and resubmit but the first one gets funded, you aren't going to be fussed about the time spent revising...

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