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On Getting Grants

Over at his blog, Prof-like Substance reflects on lessons he learned while working to land his lab's first funded grant. In rounding up reflections that "might be helpful to those in the process of chasing that first proposal," Prof-like Substance says that, "above all, keep making improvements and resubmitting. Don't wait for the response to continue working on the project and making progress with the data, because you may need that critical piece for the next submission." Because of this, he suggests that PIs should "have a couple irons in the fire" at any given time — that is to say that they should be submitting at least one grant per round. In addition, Prof-like says it's important to become all-but-immune to rejection. "Funding rates are down and there is a certain level of stochasticity to the process," he says, adding that "even a very good proposal is going to get beat up once in a while." PIs ought to become familiar with the agencies they're applying to and understand that "program officers are there to help," Prof-like adds. Overall, since a well-written grant simplifies the reviewers' job, Prof-like suggests using "subheadings to guide the reviewers along and allow for easy back referencing," and also to "make the important points clear," when paired with figures. The impact section on a grant application "tends to be the last thing a reviewer reads," he says, "so don't leave them on a down note."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.