By now you've probably heard about the email and petition going around to Save The A2 (See pros and cons), as though the second resubmission of a grant proposal is some kind of political prisoner that your hipster friends never heard of before last week but now can't stop talking about. Basically the argument boils down to the fact that there are those who believe NIH's policy of allowing only a single resubmit of a proposal is hurting investigators and those who feel that this initiative was inacted so that first submission (A0) proposals actually have a chance of getting funded as opposed to being "put in line". While I see both sides, I tend to agree with those against the A2 being brought back, on the basis that there won't be an increase in the number of grants that get funded or probably even which grants get funded with the additional submission (see the comments here for more discussion).
Admittedly, I don't have as much of a dog in the race as many of the people discussing this do. NIH is not my primary target audience and until last summer I had never applied. It was an interesting experience and I have been working on the resubmit due in ten days. But the discussion has made me reconsider my strategy in the coming round, however.
Based on feedback on the project from both NSF and NIH, I have shifted the focus. Whereas the overall goal is the same, the mechanisms for answering the questions are substantially different. We'll be collecting different data, using modified tools to analyze those data and have broadened the sampling. Not insignificant.
That leaves me with a dilemma: How to I categorize the proposal when I submit it this time around? Is it an A1? Has it been changed enough to go in as an A0? Is there an advantage to sending it as an A1 and does that potential benefit outweigh the advantage of having another kick at the can if the application is unsuccessful in this round? While submitting as an A0 is what appears to make the most sense, I don't have a good feel for *how much* change is enough to allow for a new submit over a resubmit. From talking with some people, neither do most people. So, do I risk the study section getting the application and saying "Dude is trying to work around the system! Destroy!" and go with the A0 or play nice and submit an A1 knowing I will have to make even more substantial changes to it if it does not get funded?