K99 Clarification

In announcing the re-issued career development parent announcements, the NIH highlighted significant changes to the K99/R00 program that bring much needed and appreciated guidance to applicants, particularly with regard to uniform expectations across ICs:

  • Candidates for the K99/R00 award must have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research training experience at the time of the initial application or the subsequent resubmission.
  • Although the duration of postdoctoral training may vary across scientific disciplines, candidates must propose a plan for a substantive period of mentored training not to exceed 2 years.
  • It is expected that K99 awardees will benefit from no less than 12 months of mentored research training and career development before transitioning to the independent, R00 phase of the program.
  • Individuals who are close to achieving an independent faculty position, and cannot make a strong case for needing a minimum of 12 months of additional mentored training, are not ideal candidates for this award.
  • If an applicant achieves independence prior to initiating the K99 phase, neither the K99 nor the R00 phase will be awarded.

This has been a tricky award, since K99 applicants stressed with career planning decisions and deadlines late in their postdoc often applied for faculty positions as funding decisions dragged on for months and months after the initial submission and review (and resubmission and review), and the ICs handled these situations differently, particularly during the initial years of the program. Nice to have everyone on the same page.

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How the NIH Can Help You Get Funded

Although this cat is partly out of the bag thanks to DrugMonkey, I am pleased to announce that I finally committed to page some of what I have learned in working with academic researchers and the NIH for more than 28 years. First and foremost, I want to thank all of you supporting this blog over the past 7 years, because without you, the book never would have been written. Literally.

When Oxford University Press was looking for someone to author a book about NIH grantwriting, they went to the NIH, where a PO said if they could find whoever was responsible for this blog, they would find the right person. And so the editor sent an email to “writedit”, which I fortunately did not dismiss as spam but instead wrote back that what would be more useful than another book on how to “write a grant” would be one focused on how to understand and work with the NIH as part of an overall grant-seeking strategy. Fortunately, they liked my ideas, and a year or so later, and the addition of a killer co-author who I was thrilled to have move to BICO, Jeremy Berg, How the NIH Can Help You Get Funded made it to press.

My motivation for maintaining this blog comes from my genuine enjoyment of helping researchers succeed (and learning a lot of cool science along the way), and it was a no brainer to dedicate the book to you and the extramural staff at the NIH. I am happy to freely give any advice that I can here, but in case you want the fundamentals in one convenient volume, the book (paperback and Kindle) is available from OUP (20% discount code: 32398) as well as through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers. I kept the book small to keep the price down for students and postdocs, so there are topics I would have liked to have covered in more detail and will try to expand upon here in the blog, especially as folks continue to ask questions.

Currently, I am looking for a WordPress guru to help make the blog itself more user-friendly, so hopefully soon you will find this site easier to search and find shared intel in the comments on grant mechanisms, ICs, study sections, etc. of particular interest to you. And yes, I’ll finally change the color scheme to be more readable …

So, thank you all again for contributing to this collective effort and making MWEG a valuable resource – and thanks for all the memories.

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What Passes for Good News for the NIH

Although the shoutin’ is only about to begin, Senators Patty Murray and Paul Ryan announced a bipartisan budget agreement that would role back the FY14 sequester, which would be a huge relief for the NIH.

As required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the FY13 sequester imposed mandatory 5.1% across the board cuts, and the FY14 sequester was set to increase these cuts to 7.4%. With the pending budget deal, discretionary spending would be capped at $1.012T instead of $967B (vs $986B in FY13). Of course, academic medical centers won’t necessarily be cheering the extension of the 2% cut to Medicare providers.

For historical perspective, discretionary spending in FY12 was $1.285T, a drop from $1.347T in FY10 and FY11; in FY06, discretionary spending was at $1.016T. In other words, Congress would still be defunding the NIH in FY14.

Details on the NIH appropriation to follow as the sausage is made.

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Updated CSR Review Meeting Dates

If you have an application pending review for January Council (i.e., submitted last summer), you can check when CSR has rescheduled the study section meeting. Those with an NIH address listed will be conducted as video/teleconference or Internet-assisted meetings. The new meeting dates include weekends and extend well into December, so everyone who has been saved from waiting for May Council should be very grateful to all the SROs scrambling to make this happen.

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On Second Thought, Revised Revised Review Dates

In a month of unprecedence, the NIH today reversed its original decision to cancel most of the 200+ fall peer review meetings that were missed due to the government shutdown and push the 11,000+ applications to the spring study sections for consideration at May Council. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revised Grant Application Submission and Review Dates

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Keep Calm and …

Update: Please see the post above and the latest NIH Notice on resumption of extramural activities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Government Shutdown Showdown

Update: OER has released a Notice on the shutdown – here are the key points: Read the rest of this entry »

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Findings of Research Misconduct

Notice is hereby given that ORI has taken final action in the following case: Read the rest of this entry »

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Findings of Research Misconduct

Notice the unusual notice for this decade-long case … additional details at Retraction Watch, “including [via the Seattle Times] Aprikyan’s own account that a technician working with him at one point wrote research notes on “approximately 30 paper towels,” and the notes were never transcribed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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