Thank heavens the X02s for the Molecular Libraries Program are due next week. I think.
The PA innocuously states: “This announcement utilizes the X02 mechanism for submission and consideration of pre-applications. The X02 application is relatively brief and is subjected to peer review that will identify applicants who will be invited, in the second step, to submit full applications for U54 centers for the anticipated January 4, 2008 submission date. No formal awards will be made under the X02 announcement.”
Those of you who enjoy preparing U54 center applications, raise your hands. Just as I thought … not a lot of enthusiasm, especially after grinding out these damn “relatively brief” (but not relatively easy or simple or painless by any means) pre-application essays. However, very nice to be spared the U54 agony if your submission was going to be trashed anyway. Conversely, very nice (& highly motivating) to be invited to submit a proposal for a comprehensive screening center award worth $13M per year for 5 years.
I am wondering how many more big NIH funding mechanisms will move to the X-men model of 2-stage peer-review followed by Advisory Council discussion & funding decisions. It would almost be a blessing if it meant avoiding the unnecessary spewing of dozens of 600-page CTSA proposals or other similarly long and involved U54, P50, and P60 applications. Particularly if everyone and his brother is now applying, and someone has to read the damn things.