I got my summary statement for my triaged grant. Frankly, I am surprised that it got triaged (and so were the others that read it — both the grant and the summary statement). The comments were quite enthusiastic and I basically got hit for not enough preliminary data. One reviewer wanted to see preliminary data on just about everything but still managed to make some highly enthusiastic comments on significance and novelty. The other asked for some key things that we were already moving on but that are going to take a few months to wrap up. Overall the comments were very useful and immediately doable. Our plan is in place and I think we see a light at the end of this tunnel.
There are two problems though:
1) One criticism was a tad off kilter, me thinks. I was criticized for never having run an R01 program. Hello, I have new investigator status (clearly stated on the facepage of the grant and the summary statement). Moreover, it was suggested that maybe I should go for an R21 to get more data. Hello again, isn’t NIH explicitly urging new investigators to go for R01s. Why does this continue to happen? I’m thinking that I should respond with a link to the new investigator initiative webpage from NIH. Sound reasonable?
2) Since the R01 went in we’ve started another project that is starting to show revolutionary potential. I hate to toot my own horn in such a manner but it really does appear to be a truly paradigm shifting finding (at least for my area but I can think of a few others where it would be a major splash). Obviously we’ve got a long-way to go but everyone is very excited about it. In the meantime, we’ve got some related but not so groundshaking things to do to revise the R01. Because we’ve got limited resources (and because I’m not worried about scoopage) we can really only do one thing at a time. I know what the right answer is, go for the money because it will facilitate everything else. We can get this R01 funded with some hard work between now and July, but it kills me to think that we’ve got to put the other project on the backburner for awhile. On the other hand, it would quite literally kill everything if we don’t bring in some funding and I have every reason to think that we will if we focus on revising the R01 right now.
Well, I suppose I answered my own question on point 2. Such is the life of an early stage investigator: Focus!