If you’re not into the ins and outs of applying for NIH funding, this one may be a bit too wonky for you. I’m linking, however, to a rather interesting discussion of how to go about getting funding from the NIH in this presently hostile funding climate. One spot-on point is this in reference to letters of support from mentors:
A senior study section member in the audience confirmed this – but added that the letters must clearly demonstrate that the mentor (or whoever) has read the R01 and helped refine the narrative … a glowing letter of support appended to an unfundable narrative backfires for both the new investigator and the mentor. [As a reviewer of internal pilot funding applications, I can attest to the frustration of a ridiculously immature proposal paired with a bubbling mentor letter – makes everyone look bad.]
I can see how that would be an embarrassment…
In the meantime, my R01 doesn’t expire until 2010, but I’m already starting to sweat it, worrying that I haven’t made enough progress and especially that I haven’t published enough. Fortunately, I still have a little under two years before I have to submit my competitive renewal. In the meantime, I’m certainly looking to get a project going that could attract another R01, just in case my present project stalls.