My first R03 review

So as I told you before, my first R03 grant was triaged last month. Not much surprise, as that was my very first submission and I basically did it without supervision or science advice. Of course, I did the best I could, and there was a tiny bit of hope to get a score. But it didn’t happen.

However, when I received the reviews, they were not that bad. On average, all my scores were around 3, except for approach, where I’ve got a big 6. There were good moments such as “Concerns about XXX diminish enthusiasm for this otherwise excellent study”. But they had a really big concern about me being a PD: “Lacks an academic appointment and is dependent on her mentor for laboratory space and access to facilities”. So why on earth a PD is able to submit a R03 grant as the PI if the reviewers are going to be all cranky about that?

And it gets worse!

Other thing that the reviewers were all confused was about my actual department: “This laboratory is in the Department of Mathematics, which appears to be an unusual place for a neuroscience laboratory”. Yes, my former PI retired and co-PI took over. So despite being a neuroscientist and have absolutely no idea about math, I’m in the math Dept. And that’s why my PI cannot help much with the scientific part of my grant.

Despite this advice, my former PI is the closest and better help that I can have. He gave me some tips about how to fix the approach of my grant, but he suggested me to apply for an R21 instead of an R03. Lots of people on twitter suggested alternatives such as K01, F32… Gosh, this grant applying thing is so complicated! Anyways, twitter as always did help me a lot with advices and guidelines. I emailed my PO and scheduled a phone interview. I’ll keep you posted.