September/October 2005 Newsletter
fund research at the interface of the life How to Get a First Grant do pay attention to these inconsistencies,
and physical, computational, and mathe- so make sure you do a thorough literature
matical sciences. This is the first in a series of "How to…" survey in the area of proposed research.
The draft, with its focus on manage- topics, outgrowths of discussions held during The best way to address controversy is to
ment and accountability, does not alter or the Career Roundtable Luncheon sponsored show how the proposed research would
mention the peer review process, nor by the Committee on Professional help clarify the inconsistencies.
does it consolidate the Institutes. The Opportunities for Women (CPOW) at the
scientific community at large has been
49th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical 8 Proposed research. The grant should be
slow to react to the legislation publicly,
but remains skeptical of change. The Society held in Long Beach. simple and not overambitious. A first
Biophysical Society public affairs com- grant from a young investigator should
mittee will review drafts as they become One of the greatest challenges a young have two to three specific aims. Parallel
available and keep the Society informed investigator faces is writing a grant and specific aims are sometimes advisable
of any significant proposals. obtaining the first funding. This was one because the success of the second aim
of the topics of discussion at the Career does not depend on the success of the
Roundup Luncheon sponsored by the Committee first. On the other hand, there are some
on Professional Opportunities for excellent proposals where specific aims are
Women (CPOW) at the Biophysical hierarchical. One pitfall of sequential
National Academies of Science: Ralph
Society's 49th Annual meeting at Long aims, however, is that if the first aim is
Cicerone assumed the position of
Beach, California. Biophysical Society flawed then the proposal is less likely to be
President of the National Academies of
members Robert Clegg, Steve Harvey, funded. In either case, it is essential to
Science. Cicerone is an atmospheric sci-
Suzanne Scarlata, Lynn Marie Thompson, think through all the possible problems
entist. His term expires in June 2011.
and Andrea Yool, who have served on that might be encountered in the pro-
study sections and have well established posed research and outline alternative
HHS: The newly minted National
research programs, provided invaluable strategies.
Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity
insight into the process of writing a suc-
(NSABB) held its inaugural meeting at
cessful grant. Some of the key points and 8 Where to apply. There are many
the beginning of July. The NSABB con-
suggestions made during the discussions sources of grants including private, state,
sists of both Board members from the sci-
are highlighted below. and federal agencies and foundations.
entific and security communities and ex-
While federal funding is often preferred,
officio members representing interested
federal agencies. At the first meeting, the
8 Preliminary experiments. Don't hesitate smaller grants from state and private
to send out a grant, if there is enough data agencies may have significantly higher
Board discussed developing criteria for
to support the hypothesis and feasibility funding rates. For first time investigators,
identifying dual use research & research
of the proposed research. Even if the grant there is no conflict in simultaneously sub-
results, communicating dual use research,
is not funded in the first round, feedback mitting the same proposal to several agen-
codes of conduct, the chemical synthesis
from the reviewers can be very helpful. cies as long as one lets each funding
of bacterial and viral genomes, and the
agency know what is pending elsewhere.
international perspective on these issues.
These five topics became the subjects of
8 Controversies in the field. It is impor- If all get funded, take the more generous
tant to directly address existing controver- grant.
working groups for NSABB as it moves
sies. Don't try to bury them. Reviewers