Daily Archives: Friday February 21st, 2020

What to do when your grant application is rejected

After a windy and rainy winter, deadlines for the 2020 applications are approaching. Related to this, James Mitchell Crow just wrote an interesting commentary (Nature 578, 477-479) on what do to when your grant is rejected. Because for most applicants, rejection is the rule and not the exception. Rejection can be a rollercoaster experience with anger, disappointment, despair, and grief. Give yourself time to digest the response, and only then get back to the application when you have a clear mind to do it constructively.

At the National Institutes of Health in the US, the 2017 aggregate success rate for research grants was 20.5%. The success rate is similar in Novo Nordisk Fonden. At Wellcome in the UK, around 50% of applications 2017-18 made it through the preliminary stage. Of those, around 20% were funded. In the initial H2020 programme, the success rate was only 14%, and at the Research Council of Norway, it is unfortunately even lower; around 5-10% in the open calls. Hence, a good idea is no guarantee of grant success, and very good applications are rejected due to lack of funding.

So, what to do?

Most importantly, never give up. For each time you write a grant application, it improves a little and suddenly you are over the threshold and/or a new reviewer likes the application.

Can you get key manuscripts for the idea submitted? Can you collect and present preliminary data and/or run a pilot study? These points may be important to satisfy reviewers regarding the key evaluation criterion feasibility.

To establish new collaborations can improve your science by other people scrutinizing your research. Also, that can improve your network and track as a PI.

If you discuss the grant rejection with your colleagues, mentors and others, you might get emotional support in the short term, and constructive feedback to help reapply for the grant at the next round.

When you have feedback from the reviewers, it is vital to address the concerns of these. Still, it is unlikely that the same reviewers will evaluate your application once more, so work through all aspects of the application for the next round.

Most often, your application was not read by an expert in your field. Therefore, it may be helpful to share the revision to scientists who are not experts in your field. Can your spouse understand your abstract and main outline? If not, you should try to rewrite. A message can never be too simple. And think of your application as a story you want to tell and make that journey exciting so the reviewers want to read more.

Good luck preparing your grant applications for 2020. But before that, enjoy the winter holidays!


New parking spaces

The parking deck outside the laboratory building will be closed from Friday 28. February. For K2, the parking deck will be replaced by 11 parking spaces in Haukelandsbakken, which can be used from 3. March. This applies to those who have a permanent position at K2.
If you need a parking space, you can be handed an access card in the expedition. This access card will only apply for one week at the time. The parking spaces in Haukelandsbakken are available until 1. July, then Helse Bergen takes over the area.

Seminar on bioinformatics March 24.

Are you using bioinformatics in your research or plan to do so in the future? Are you looking for bioinformatics research partners or in need of bioinformatics support? The Computational Biology Unit (CBU.uib.no) may have the skills and knowledge your project requires. Come to the CBU day at the Medical Faculty to learn more!

When and where? Tuesday March 24, 12:00-16:00, BBB Auditorium 2

See CBU event at MedFac for programme and more information.

This week’s employee – Rebecca Jane Cox Brokstad

Can you tell us something about your daily tasks and work in general?

I head the influenza center whose vision is to reduce the global burden of influenza illness through being an international leader in development of new and improved influenza vaccines. The center has 14 enthusiastic scientists and students who work on development and evaluation of current and novel influenza vaccines with a focus on understanding the immune response after infection and vaccination. Influenza is a pernicious virus causing annual outbreaks and occasional pandemics and our ultimate research goal is to develop a universal influenza vaccine which provides broad and durable protection.

What do you enjoy working at K2?

K2 is the ideal work place with laboratory in close proximity to our collaborators at Haukeland Hospital allowing synergy between the clinic and laboratory in our clinical trials. The diversity of scientific interests at K2 are stimulating and provide an exciting work place.

New publications

Here are recent publications with contributions from K2 based on last week’s search on PubMed (and optionally articles that have not been included in previous lists). This time the list includes in total 6 recent publications. The entries appear in the order they were received from NCBI. If you have publications that are not included in this or previous lists, please send the references to Oda Barth Vedøy.

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