So I have it on reasonable authority that the pay line at the NSF/MCB is hovering at around the 10% mark (May, 2013). This is in contrast to their usual pay line, closer to high teens.
In a few areas at NIH, the paylines have dipped to around 6%.
Is it time for NIH and NSF to implement a pre-proposal mechanism (like the DOE already uses)?
When pay lines are so low, it is a big waste of time for everyone involved to ...(read more)
If you’ve ever been camping at one of those RV park places, you’ve probably experienced the pay shower. In order to get hot water to flow (or any water), you have to periodically feed in quarters.
Now here’s the thing. Say you only have two quarters. And, say that each quarter only buys you 2 minutes of water.
After your first dose of precious hot water runs out, you fumble around, all lathered up, for your second quarter… by the time you ...(read more)
Grants are now officially “hyper-competitive(TM).”
I’ve seen more than one great grant not quite make the cut, because there were even better grants in the pool for that round.
Dealing with this requires a shift in thinking. In the past I’ve focused exclusively on “quality” of proposal, but the reality is changing. You now need quality and quantity.
Don’t mistake me. Quantity and quality in grants are often opposed. If you go after too much quantity, your quality will suffer, ...(read more)
For years I’ve been teaching that grants aren’t a lottery. I’ve been teaching that if you write a sufficiently good grant, you can skew the odds enough in your favor to have a good chance of success. I’ve taught that because I’ve seen some people use the “grants as a lottery” attitude as a motivator to write a whole bunch of not-well-planned grants, submitting them almost willy nilly to “improve the odds.” This clogs the system, and rarely ...(read more)
Once upon a time, the NIH had you lead the body of your grant proposal with a section titled “Background and Significance.” Then they messed everything up by taking out the “Background” part, quite confusing many a grant writer as to the meaning of a “significance” without a “background.”
Let’s get that sorted out here.
One perspective on this comes from my book Four Steps to Funding. The four steps are The Why, The Who, The What, and The ...(read more)