Holy Recursive Clusterfuck Batman!!
0 comment Tuesday, March 25, 2014 |
Listen NIH funding website, you need to pull yourself together. You look like a freaking databomb disaster site.Seriously, I just spent over 3 hours trying to find the relevant info for applying for an NRSA. I got a link from the F32 general info page to my Institute, which under funding opportunities for post-docs then linked back to the same bloody F32 general info page which contained exactly zero useful information.I tried to find the application deadlines with some success...I know when I should have submitted for each cycle....if I were applying in 2004. Since I will be applying in 2010 this is not particularly helpful, unless the same page also supplies the algorithm for projecting deadlines into the future present. However, it does not. FTLose.I stumbled upon the pay rate table for NRSA awardees while looking for the "previously funded awards" (which I could not, for the life of me, find last week), which included the pay rates for awards in FY2009, along with a link to some blurb about % increases in stipends mandated for FY2010 by the ARRA stuff, but no hard numbers in a simple table like the one you provide for previous award years.I thought it might be fun to recreate the virtual scavenger hunt that I've just been on via links for the amusement of my readers. But then I thought, No! That would not be fun! It would be painful! So I did not.I did finally find the page for downloading the application, which contains the very well-noted caveat that I should ONLY use Form A if I am applying for the pre-February 4 2010 submission deadline, and that AFTER February 4, I should use "Form" not "Form A". OK, potentially confusing but I think I got it. Trouble is, the links do not provide a "Form", only "Form A", which you just told me in big bold shouty letters is now defunct.So I figured that I'd just download "Form A" and fill it out and import to "Form" when it does become available. "Form A" appears to be one of those interactive PDFs so cool, right? Bzzzzt! NO! It's a read-only file! Despite the button at the top of the interactive PDF which opens in its own webpage and says "click here to save your info and continue later" I can neither click save nor even input any info into the required fields. Perhaps this is because "Form A" is now defunct? I DON'T KNOW! Also, there is another PDF file which provides the instructions for filling out a different required form (STF? no, you STFU!), but no PDF of the form itself, nor links to where I might find it. If I search for that form on the umbrella site, I get a bazillion hits and none of the top 10 provide the form itself nor links to it. However, I did find a page that would allow me to select all of the forms required for this particular mechanism (with the exception of the STFU form and "Form" of course) , and download them all at once. Only it didn't. Allow me to download them all at once, that is. Or even to download them individually.Look, I know that the NIH has a lot of other more important shit to spend money on (like funding some research proposals, maybe even mine!), but balls! A trained monkey intramural intern with some web design skillz could do wonders for the efficiency and efficacy of the grant/fellowship submission process. Or even just fixing broken links,and making sure that search queries take you to the most recent info, not a stand-alone page of paylines from 8 years ago. Somebody did a great job reformatting the NCBI database, so how's about throwing your extramural funding applicants a bone here?It occurs to me that the difficulty of the finding the required info just to submit the freaking fellowship is all a part of separating the wheat from the chaff, and also cutting down on the total number of applications that will then need to be reviewed, which may increase efficiency at the reviewing end. Any projected data on how many potential applicants just throw their hand in the air and say "fuck it!" before even submitting? I vow not to be one of them, but Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick! It's tempting.

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