Got BRAINS, new neuro faculty?

Jun 28 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Apparently NIH was feeling a little left out of the ol' funding institute acronym game, which I daresay NSF has had an easy lock on for quite some time. I mean, with award names like CAREER, BREAD, BEACON, and OPERA, how could poor NIH even expect to compete? But lo! 'Tis a new day, as NIH recently unveiled a re-issue of the BRAINS award, which I also daresay is quite an awesome thing.

In a nutshell, the Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (very well played) is an R01 RFA specifically for Early Stage Investigators with Hot New Ideas that might be seen as too risky by traditional study sections*. The fact that this is an RFA has two big advantages: 1) your submission will be judged only against other ESI proposals; 2) if you don't get funded, you can resubmit to a standard study section as an A0, not an A1, so it's like hey, free summary statement!

They seem to be interested in extremely specific research directions, here, so I highly recommend you read the RFA description and objectives carefully. Also, note that there's a bit of a career development aspect to the award, in that you're required to put together an "advising committee" and provide some sort of career statement.

Submission due date is Oct 23 of this year and next year, folks. Now go forth and innovate!

*That this is an existing problem to begin with is one issue perhaps worth discussing on its own, and yes, we should probably work on changing study section attitudes rather than giving innovative and risk-taking ESIs a sheltered forum in which to propose their amazing and crazy ideas. But I guess it's a start.

8 responses so far

  • Jason says:

    Whatever the BEACON award is I'm seriously hoping they can trim the E and make it the BACON award. I'd do anything to apply for that.

  • BrooksPhD says:

    is this the one aimed at transitioning scientists? Saw one in the NIH mailer the other day that was $500,000 (I think) to cover leaving postdoc and starting new lab. This one sound more aimed at n00b asst profs though...

  • Dr Becca says:

    Nope, this is a bona fide R01--up to $1.6M! Nothing transitional about it 🙂

  • Bashir says:

    So is this a one time deally or going to be a regular thing?

    Also BACON. It needs to be BACON.

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    I responded to something similar--although not a field specific RFA--Not to be a debbie downer, but I actually got dinged in my summary statement for 'not having a track record'. I applied for that damn thing within the 1st year of my faculty appointment.

    So, just because they say 'ESI-specific' don't forget to emphasis, highlight, recap, all of the above ad infinitum, all of the awesome things that you have managed to do in your short career...

  • Dave says:

    Interesting. I can see a lot of unhappy applicants following the release of the first summary statements. An R01 but for ESI? That will confuse the hell out of some reviewers. I fear that they will just review it like any other R01.

  • Dr Becca says:

    Dave--there's a separate study section for this RFA, meaning that all BRAINS applicants will be compared only against other BRAINS applicants. Usually members of the study section are explicitly trained in the special goals of the RFA, so when proposals are discussed, common ESI dings like "too ambitious" should be shot down.

  • [...] is not enough. According to some conversations I've had with some official higher-ups about this RFA I was thinking about, the work can't simply be significant and innovative (as they agreed my idea [...]

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