Incoherent Extramural Whining Continues

April 4, 2011

Well, for some reason it took a while for the incoherent whiners to find Sally Rockey’s blog post in which she published OER’s response to the Benezra petition. But they have! Oh, they have!

As at least some of the commenters there have recognized, the number of grants that can be funded each fiscal year is zero-sum (leaving aside for this purpose the issue of grant size). Thus, the *only* possible thing that can be coherently argued as a problem with the A2 sunset is that without A2s, there are some grants being funded that shouldn’t be if there were A2s, and some grants not being funded that should be.

So I ask this of those who are arguing strenuously for return of A2s: what is the nature of these grants that are being funded that shouldn’t be, and those grants that aren’t being funded that should be?

And to amplify: You *can’t* only tell us about grants that should have been funded that weren’t. You *must* also tell us about grants that were funded but shouldn’t have been. Asserting the former without the latter is completely logically incoherent, and not worthy of anyone who considers herself to be a scientist.


15 Responses to “Incoherent Extramural Whining Continues”

  1. Fred Says:

    This reads like a dr. Seuss book

  2. DrugMonkey Says:

    Somebody *else’s* grant sholdn’t have been funded and *my* grant should have been! Duh. This is not complicated.

  3. Spiny Norman Says:

    Who cares? NIH funding is totally irrelevant. The Intent of Congress is to make the United States into a failed third-world kleptocracy with all due speed, and at this goal Congress is manifestly succeeding. In fact, this entire discussion is nothing but epiphenomenology. It totally ignores the underlying mechanisms.

  4. Somebody *else’s* grant sholdn’t have been funded and *my* grant should have been! Duh. This is not complicated.

    Dude, haven’t you ever heard of a socratic dialogue?? You’re not supposed to just give the shitte away like thatt!!

  5. arrzey Says:

    Dear Spiny Norman,
    Perhaps you would consider trying to really go to a third world country and try to do research.

  6. Pascale Says:

    The real issue is that the top 20% or so of grants reviewed are worthy of funding. Many that made it to the A2 stage fall into that range where everything was good enough and o fatal flaws, but reviewers “liked” something else a bit better. It really sucks to be in that position at any stage of the process.

    I want a bigger pie.

  7. DrugMonkey Says:

    But Pascale, this is another point that apparently escapes the Benezra crowd….that their just-missed A1s were going to be just-missed A2s anyway.

    Whether not permitted to send another revision or unable to get a fundable score no matter how many revisions, the outcome is the same.

  8. It’s even stupider than thatte: without A2s some of those just-missed A1s would have been fucken funded!

  9. Spiny Norman Says:

    arrzey: the Intent of Congress is to bring that reality here. I did not say that such a reality had already arrived; but just wait. Keep electing crazies, and it will arrive.

  10. K Says:

    It’s kind of embarrassing that the subsequent discussion of this on a lot of blogs (not this one, but others) is riddled with a lack of reading comprehension.

    What the cube-shaped wombat shit is going on?

  11. K Says:

    arrzey, Spiny Norman:

    Politics has a tendency to draw the worst people in society. It’s no coincidence that the traits that describe sociopaths also tend to describe people in politics.

  12. Adam Says:

    Ok, I am in another (totally non-bio) field where we don’t have any A1s or A2s or R01s or whatever. So this is all totally academic to me. But I have found it interesting to try to understand the different points of view. And after reading some of the objections to the new system, I think the most coherent one goes something like this.

    Preliminary data is needed for a successful proposal. Big established labs have more things going and so if a proposal is rejected they can more easily generate some preliminary data on a new idea. But the young PI with a small lab can’t do that so quick due to their more limited resources, so they have to put more eggs into one basket. It’s harder for them to generate something that looks “new” enough after their proposal is rejected.

    So, to answer CPP’s question, more proposals from new PIs which came close to being funded the first time but just could do better the second time due to minor revisions, better luck with reviewers etc. should be funded, while fewer of everything else (including proposals by big labs that were generated more entirely anew – in response to their proposals being rejected after being close to being funded the first time) should be funded. Or something like that.

    I’m still trying to get my head around it, not having lived under this system at all (and frankly being kind of horrified by how nasty things seem to be in biomed) but this objection doesn’t seem so crazy to me.

  13. DrugMonkey Says:

    Adam- big labs are also more able to sustain an extra 9 months of time wasted on the additional review cycle. The problem with the holding pattern is that it made a LOT of meritorious grants wait another round, not only the ones that somehow “needed” revision to be worthwhile. Established labs had greater tolerance for the holding pattern.

  14. K Says:

    You know what’s FUNNY?

    Nobody’s talking about the fact that the whole reason this mess is happening is because the scientifically illiterate Republicans are funneling money out of research and into the military because their dicks are too small.

  15. Spiny Norman Says:

    You know what’s FUNNY? Imbeciles say, “Nbody’s talking about… X” without taking the trouble to read more or less identical comments about X already posted in the same fucking thread.

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