On the market – what to do with a priority score

originally posted on LabSpaces

So I thought I’d provide a quick update on my priority score dilemma, for any one who’s interested. I got a lot of great advice, and several PIs out there shared their opinions and personal experience regarding their K grant scores. Thanks to all of you!

My solution (for better or worse, since the TT job apps have all made it out the internet door):

1. My cover letter has always briefly mentioned my application for a career development grant. While I didn’t explicitly state the score in the letter, I did add in that it received a competitive score.

2. My CV, under “Grants and Awards”, has “Pending NIAID Career Development Award, Received a Priority Score of ##” listed first, so it should be obvious to anyone thumbing through (unless they go straight to the back page to look at my publications).

3. My research statement, which has always broken up my future plans into current and potential grant applications, has the score listed as well. The K grant project now reads something like this: “Determine how to prevent the spread of infectious disease (included in an NIAID Career Development Award that received a priority score of ##)”

So the search committees have my score – not in the cover letter, but they don’t have to look very hard to find it. Fingers are crossed that this score helps move me into consideration for at least a couple of jobs.

Now, for the grant itself. I’ve decided that I’m pleased with my score, even if it’s not obviously fundable. It means that the study section liked the grant, and that’s quite the hurdle to jump. Would it be great to have a score that makes last year’s payline cut? Of course. But money is tight, and (I hope) a K grant isn’t a requirement to getting a TT job. Besides, it’s not a given that the grant won’t get funded, although I’m not holding my breath. I’ve also received some great advice to turn this K grant, if unfunded, into an R21 once securing a faculty position, which means I have a grant just about ready to go when I walk into my new office (that is, if I get a TT job). My summary statement, which should be available in another few weeks, will hopefully provide some good advice on how to strengthen it even more for this purpose.

So that’s where things stand for now, just in case somebody really wanted to know the rest of the story.

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