Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome to Our World

Many of you are probably frantically finishing up grant proposals that are due at the NSF this week. Yet, across the river in Bethesda, some changes in the NIH grant proposal length limit are causing a stir. Beginning with the February 5th deadline, the page limit will drop from 25 to 12...and it appears many grant-writers are a little unhappy. This week's Nature News has a little blurb talking about the new format and the reaction it's getting. The featured quote in that piece says, "In the past I would have easily put in at least ten figures. That's impossible now." I bet that all of you trimming references, adjusting line spacing, and resizing figures for your 15-page NSF proposal are salivating at even the thought of having room for 10 figures. Nevertheless, some folks are fine with the new short format, with the expectation that it will force greater clarity. Needless to say, reviewers are also likely to be relieved by the changes. Having recently served on an NIH study section (which in not done confidentially, as it is at NSF), I can say that being faced with a stack of 100-page proposals, with 25 pages of narrative on the project, was a little exhausting. But not nearly as exhausting as writing one myself. Good luck getting those in, everybody.


Glor said...

Twenty five pages is ridiculously long, I think the shorter format is a good idea. As much as I hate trying to cram three years of research into fifteen pages, I think this is necessary for the sake of the review process.

Susan Perkins said...

True. When you serve on an NIH study section, you don't have to review nearly as many as when on an NSF panel...but the length was a bit of a drag.