What if NSF Bio funding rates are LOWER this round than those past?

Sep 26 2012 Published by under [Education&Careers]

As pointed out by @biochembelle today, NIAID announced their interim paylines yesterday and the news is predictably bad. 6% for Non-new/ESI applications and 10% for the N00Bs on R01s. Why so low, because congress is playing a dangerous game of chicken right now. With the senate unable to agree on a budget, we're facing the possibility of sequestration. About a week or so ago we learned what this would do to the budgets of agencies we all apply to and NSF would take it in the teeth to the tune of $551 million (almost 10% of its overall budget).

There is certainly optimism in DC that congress won't let things go that far, but the timeline to get things done post-election will be short. This means that funding agencies have to prepare for Armageddon and plan their decisions accordingly.

Where does that leave NSF? Let's get out our calendar, shall we? Decisions on the current round of IOS and DEB proposal that survived the preproposal round and were submitted for the only call for 2012 are supposed to happen in late Oct / early Nov. You know, right around election time. Once the election occurs, we'll have a sprint to a new budget to avoid sequestration by a lame-duck congress. I totally trust that everyone will be in an agreeable mood.

So say we don't have any answers by mid-Dec. Where does that leave those waiting on DEB or IOS grants? My guess is that a small percentage will be funded and a larger percentage will be told to hold tight. Of course, the next round of preproposals (assuming Bio doesn't come to its senses) in due Jan 12. We can all see where this is going, right?

Even though NSF has been saying all along that it doesn't matter if there are one or two proposal deadlines in a year because the money is either all in one chunk or split between two rounds, we may be watching a train wreck unfold that pokes that assertion right in the eye. If NSF is forced to fund at sequestration rates for the 2013 FY, the success rate is going to be very low for the whole year and we won't be able to recover until at least Jan 2014 under the current system.

Guess what pre-tenure peeps?

9 responses so far

  • Drugmonky says:

    U r fucked?

  • anon says:

    The fucken house republicans do this every time. They say to expect the world to end, but they always manage to push something through at the last second. As usual, they are crying wolf. This is unpopular, stupid behavior. People are talking about doom and gloom, but my prediction is that sequestration will not occur.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I agree that it is unlikely and mostly posturing, but even a last-second resolution screws up the timing for anyone on the funding line.

  • MediumPriority4Life says:

    I'm sweating out an MCB submission myself, this means I'll be logging into fastlane 3 times a day for the next several months waiting for some information. MCB's next submission date is Jan 28, so this might well mean little turn around time to work on then resubmit; an outcome which is what the 8 month cycle was supposed to prevent.

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  • B says:

    Going to a once-a-year proposal submission cycle is a course that many programs/directorates at NSF have taken. Needless to say it has been a - how can I say this politely - bone-headed decision. Unless promotion and tenure committees change their evaluation criteria, things will get ugly.

  • MediumPriority4Life says:

    Just noticed that NSF BIO updated their 2012 paylines and they are raised across the board. Is this the first evidence that their new policies raised funding rates?

    http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=BIO

    Or is there hidden trickery?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Well, since no one in DEB or IOS has been funded yet in 2012, posting the lines seems a bit odd. My guess is that either those are estimates for the coming round of full proposals OR those are the numbers for the fall 2011 awards that were part of FY 2012.

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