Summary Statement

So I’ve received my first summary statement, reviewing my K grant submission that was recently unscored. And I’m looking over a wide-ranging set of critiques:

  • One was very realistic, in my opinion, citing expected holes in my proposal, training and publication record, all of which I was aware of and have been fully prepared to read since submitting the grant.
  • Another reviewer loved the grant. No, I mean s/he LOVED the grant, quite a bit more than I really thought was deserved. The reviews were glowing, and even made me blush a bit. I received a “1” in one of the critiqued areas, a fairly rare feat in my understanding. There were some negatives, but easily fixable issues. This review makes me feel happy; I think I’ll save it for a quick pick-me-up on bad science days (when wine isn’t available).
  • And, of course, to run the full gamut, I have a third critique from a reviewer that totally, and I mean TOTALLY hated the grant. Some of the criticisms were completely fair, but others seemed out of left field.

So how were these guys all reading the same grant? I’ve seen several blog postings on NIH study sections – how they work, and how one can end up with quite dissenting viewpoints on a particular proposal. Even so, this all seems very odd to me.

On the other hand, all of the reviewers hit on very similar weaknesses, and I think my takeaway message will focus on these points. I have several months to get this grant ready for re-submission, and I believe these critiques provide a very reasonable plan for making this proposal fund-able. I think I can live with this, and I’m currently enjoying (and completely humored by) the dichotomy of how one person’s “wow” is another person’s “ugh”.

Or maybe it’s just the wine talking…

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3 thoughts on “Summary Statement

  1. “On the other hand, all of the reviewers hit on very similar weaknesses, and I think my takeaway message will focus on these points”

    That is the operative!! People are subjective, but there is probably something OBjective in their shared concerns. You still need to respond in your “introduction to resubmission” to all the critiques, even the non-shared ones, (and never be snippy!) but you should absolutely focus on those shared ones for functionality.

  2. Thanks for all the encouragement Arlenna. I've had quite the emotional roller coaster of a weekend since getting the comments last week; I've gone from humored to angry to sad, while questioning my thick skin and ability to be an academic researcher. I've now moved onto acceptance (hopefully it doesn't take so long next time) and am ready to start writing a kick-ass resubmission! πŸ™‚

    TA, the wine worked wonders…I truly believe it was the source of all the humor Thursday evening. In fact, a friend of mine on Friday said she never reads her grant critiques without a bottle of wine sitting next to her!

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