Thursday, January 29, 2009

Postdoc mentoring 411

Need advice about how to comply with the new federal requirement to mentor your postdoc? Help is on the way. Click the headline and you will go to the National Institutes of Health site. Once there, click on "Individual Development Plan for Postdoctoral Fellows." The plan was developed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. It includes a good, short bibliography for new scientists looking for career advice.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NSF plan would end voluntary cost sharing

The National Science Board has released for public comment a draft of its report, "Investing in the Future: NSF (National Science Foundation) Cost Sharing Policies for a Robust Federal Research Enterprise." The two key recommendations are: (1) to require cost sharing in specific circumstances when it will further programmatic goals and (2) to prohibit voluntary cost sharing. Read the full report by clicking the headline.

Friday, January 23, 2009

NSF grant with postdoc? Don't forget mentoring plan

The National Science Foundation's new Grant Proposal Guide, which is effective this month, requires that any proposal requesting funding for postdoctoral researchers must include a discussion of mentoring activities to be provided to the postdocs.

Repeat: This is not optional. Include a section on mentoring your postdoc in your 15-page project description or prepare to have the proposal returned without review. Click on the headline to view the portion of the GPG that sets forth the new requirement. Scroll down to "Proposal Contents," Section C.2.d.i.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

NIH salary cap increased

Effective Jan. 1, the annual salary limitation on grants from the National Institutes of Health is increased to $196,700. Click the headline for the official announcement.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New IRB registration requirements

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has published revised rules for the registration of Institutional Review Boards, commonly known as IRBs. The changes are narrower that originally proposed in 2004. Two key changes: IRBs must provide an approximate number of active protocols, and an approximate number of full-time equivalent positions dedicated to IRB administrative activities. Click on the headline to see the full text of the announcement. It's long, so if you just want to see the changes, scroll down to Federal Register page 2405.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Submitting a proposal? Beware Inauguration Day holiday

You probably know that Monday, Jan. 19 is a federal holiday -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But Tuesday, Jan. 20 is Inauguration Day, and a holiday for some federal employees who work in the District of Columbia. This can affect grant applicants.

Bottom line: The NIH eRA help desk will be closed Tuesday because the staff won't be able to make their way through the inaugural crowds to get to the office. However, if you are submitting a proposal from the comfort of your office, Inauguration Day isn't a holiday for you. It still counts as one of the two "viewing days" of your proposal after submission to the commons. If you submit on Friday, you have until midnight Wednesday to view the proposal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NSF Regional Grants Conference: Tempe, AZ

The National Science Foundation will present a regional grants conference March 30-31 in Tempe, AZ. Arizona State University is host. Can't decide whether to attend? Consider that the average high temperature for these dates in Tempe is 80 degrees.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Early Stage Investigators: Make yourselves known at NIH

Are you a biomedical researcher at the beginning of your career? The National Institutes of Health will give special consideration to proposals from "early stage investigators." But to do that, they need to know of your status.

An early stage investigator is one who received a terminal research degree or completed a medical residency in the past 10 years and has not received a major NIH research award. (See NIH web page for details.) Applications from early investigators will be reviewed with more emphasis on the proposed research and less on the investigator's track record.

Use the eRA Commons to update your personal profile and identify yourself as an early stage investigator. Do it before you submit your RO1 application. Get more information about the early investigator program by clicking on the headline above.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More on NIH success rates

Here is a breakdown by institute of proposal success rates at the National Institutes of Health. The chart gives total number of proposals received and number awarded as well as dollar amount data. Figures are available for 10 fiscal years, with 2007 the most recent.