I opened up the score sheet and almost fell out of my chair…
A bit over a year ago, I got into the office one day, and had an email from the NIH saying that the score sheet was ready for my R01 renewal that had been submitted a few months before.
My stomach had butterflies. My lab was depending on me – my R01 was running out in just a few short months, and without a renewal, I would have to ramp down the project and let people go.
I didn’t expect it to go well. It was the first round of submission for this competitive renewal, and all I’d heard were horror stories about rejection after rejection from colleagues. Worse yet, I’d only had 2 years since the last renewal to the time I wrote it – not much time to make significant progress! So I felt behind the ball and that we had little chance of getting this one.
But I had to know. It was a busy day, and I knew I’d go through it in a sour mood after reading about a rejection or bad score. But curiosity got the best of me.
I browsed to the NIH site. I browsed the long list of past proposals to this one. I clicked on it and scrolled down.
WHAT???!!!???!! “NO WAY!” I screamed. My lab tech immediately came to my door and said, “what’s wrong??? are you ok?” (I’m not normally one for hysterics – I’ve run 30 foot waterfalls in my whitewater kayak, and that requires nerves of steel)
I wasn’t ok, simply because I was sure that someone made a mistake. The next few days I kept checking back on the page to see if they’d corrected it. To make sure that I had a grip on reality. I waited for the conversation with my program officer.
When I finally talked to him, he confirmed it. I was stunned and shocked. In one of the most competitive years for getting proposals reviewed (2008) I had pulled a score significantly better than the top 5%.
And this was the second time in a row. Just a year before, I’d pulled a competitive renewal of my other R01 at a very similar score, on the first round.
What was going on? Well, my lab does some great work. But there’s more to it than that. Somehow, I had figured out the “secret formula” that seems to work for communicating that great science to our reviewers.
And now is your opportunity to hear about it directly from me.
Special announcement: One of the subscribers on my email list wrote that they were “freaking out” about the new grant proposal format with NIH. So I’m going to spend 10 minutes covering that on tonight’s call, and I’ll be covering that in more detail in the upcoming course.
It’s going to be tonight, on Tuesday, January 19th at 8pm EST, 7pm CST, 6pm MST, and 5pm PST. Subscribers will be able to call in and ask questions, or listen in on the web.
If you want to get on the call, along with getting other powerful information on grants and careers, make sure to sign up for my mailing list using the “subscribe” box on the upper left of the page, or go to: https://marketingyourscience.com
Since the call is coming up tonight, if you subscribe to my list, make sure to drop me a line right away, and I’ll send you the details of the call!