Tuesday, March 26, 2013


So no surprise, I just got another NSF proposal rejected. I don't mind not getting proposals funded. Given the current funding climate, I am at peace with reviewers saying this is good or even great stuff, but someone else's idea was better. My reviews this time though, for the first time, are irritating as hell. These are for a resubmission that scored very well the first time I submitted it to this section and the program officer told me I should fix it up and try again. This time it came back not recommended for funding, also a first.

One of the reviewers listed in the weaknesses: the PI has limited teaching and research experience.

Are you kidding me? What does my teaching experience have to with anything?

Another reviewer explicitly stated that proposing a combination of three different technically challenging techniques, which has significant merit and potential is incremental.

I thought April fools wasn't for a few more days.

I'm seriously wondering if these retarded reviews are the result of a collaborator that I added to the proposal as part of beefing up the expertise needed for these experiments.

If NSF reviewers aren't going to bother to take the time to write an even somewhat coherent review, what is the point of this exercise? I had a similar half-assed review on my last grant. One reviewer lists 2 or 3 bullet points for strengths and 1 or 2 for weaknesses, the second paraphrases the points of the first reviewer and the third reviewer barely wrote anything and it didn't even make sense. I didn't mind as much because at least it scored well. Foundations and DoD proposals at least explicitly state that you won't get feedback. This leaves the NIH as the sole remaining source of constructive criticism for TT faculty trying to get their proposals funded.

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