Earlier this week, I met with a collaborator to discuss what to do with our NIH grant proposal, whose “A1” was “unscored” (ie, the revised version, and you don’t get a third try, received a “preliminary score” in the lower half and so was not discussed by the review panel and couldn’t be funded).
NIH proposals are typically reviewed by three people and given preliminary scores on five aspects (significance, approach, investigators, environment, innovation) and overall, and the top proposals based on those scores are discussed and scored by the larger panel.
One of the reviewers gave our proposal an 8 for “approach” (on a scale of 1-9, with 1 being good and 9 being terrible) with the following review comments:
- Well described details for mining of [data] and genotyping of [subjects].
- There is no power analysis for Aim 2. Without knowing which and how many [phenotypes] will be evaluated it is not possible to estimate the statistical power.
Valid comments, but is that really all the reviewer had to say? What about Aims 1 and 3, or the other aspects of Aim 2? That is totally fucking inadequate.
Looking at this review again, I was reminded of how much I despise many aspects of the NIH review process. So it’s led me, finally, to write down some of the things that annoy me.