Update: NCRR has made the planned Webinar presentations available. In addition, NCRR has rescheduled the videocast for Monday, March 23, 2009, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT. (send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org). See the full notice for more details.
Good night. NCRR had to cancel its planned Webinar on the C06 and G20 RFAs for stimulus-funded construction projects and core facilities, respectively. When they finally yanked the Web connection, 1,416 people had logged in to the Webinar site … and listening to the chatter on the teleconference line, it seems a lot more people had been attempting to join the conversation unsuccessfully. (NCRR will record and post a video archive of the aborted live presentation.)
Does the NIH have any inkling how many applications are about to come flooding in for this money? My initial estimate for Challenge Grant applications had been about 30-35K (assuming every currently funded PI submitted 1-2 applications plus lots of non-traditional applicants), but I think that might need to go up to 50K. Probably more.
The burden of distributing these monies will be astounding, exceeded only by the subsequent burden of reporting quarterly on all these awards for the following 2 years. Three months pass very quickly. I have had the lovely experience of supporting a University institute that was required to submit inane quarterly progress reports (financial and programmatic) designed to make the sponsoring office (in HHS but outside the NIH) look good to sustain Congressional support. A good chunk of the grant budget supported an FTE staff member who did almost nothing else than work on these quarterly and annual reports. Job creation, I guess. Still, I’m getting a little worried wondering about the impact of ARRA on the normal functioning of the NIH …