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					                                                                                                 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
forward.




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