Today I have to write one of those letters I dread. A brief missive to a department chair suggesting that she talk with a faculty member whose grant application is not responsive to the program announcement, is not comprehensible as written, and does not propose particularly good science. These communications only come when the PI fails to heed advice from me and, more importantly, the program officer. The application will be triaged, and the reviewers assigned to write critiques will be too frustrated to provide thorough, thoughtful, useful comments.
Here at Baby It’s Cold Outside, it’s cold inside, too, for research faculty who must have at least one and preferably 2 (or one competitive renewal) NIH R01 equivalents when they come up for tenure 6 years after signing on. It’s a brutal weeding process, so I know folks are desperate to get applications in. But, these proposals need to be, if not fundable, at least scoreable so group discussion comments give the resubmission a fighting chance. So, I have the lovely chore of coaxing chairs into giving their asst profs a break and more importantly take a little time to do some grant mentoring of their own.