>answers, from my perspective

Jun 11 2010 Published by under administrative crap, grants, R00

>I got an email from a fellow newbie PI asking a good question. I know it is good because I once had the same question and no one seemed to have any information. Here goes:


"I am starting my second year of a K99/R00 this summer at OHSU and have a job offer from a R1, large state university on the East Coast. I realize that you are busy with your own work and transition and life, but was hoping that you could share with me your experience and/or tips on the negotiations and transition between the two phases of the K99/R00. My NIH PO is about as communicative as a sea anemone, my mentors are as helpful as they can be having no expertise with the K99 and I don't know of any other awardees."

I have found that even though K99 awards have been around a while, there haven't been that many that have transitioned to the R00 phase. You can always to to the  RePorter to find the folks that have them, which is probably a good idea. I was lucky that my PO is actually pretty awesome and not at all anemone-like. Anywho, this is how my transition (in progress) has gone so far (DISCLAIMER: I'm sure this is different for every institute, etc., I don't work at NIH blah blah, grain of salt, I'm not responsible for lost or stolen items and all that, my experience is n=1 and may not be representative).

I started my transition process by calling my PO after I was starting to get offers. When I had decided where I was going to land, I talk to PO about the offer to make sure it didn't set off any red flags. In the end, the NIH can decline to transition if they feel like you are getting screwed by your new Dept. chair. Apparently it happens, not a problem for me. So, about 3 months before I wanted to start the R00 phase I sent in my packet. Basically, this included a final research progress report from the mentored phase, a final letter of evaluation from the mentor and a description of the R00 phase research plan (NOTE: I basically cut-and-paste this from my original application, based on advice from my PO). The important parts were a letter from my new chair that verified I had been offered and accepted an independent, tenure-track position and demonstrated an institutional commitment to helping my career advancement. This letter was REALLY important (I was led to believe) and it had to document that there was adequate space and resources, minimum 75% protected research time, that the R00 funds were not being used to offset a typical start up, and that the appointment was not contingent on the R00 being activated.

There is some information in Section 4 “Activating the Independent Phase of the Pathway to Independence Award”that is also useful. I think these are the official rules. Just like the original writing, this took me longer than expected. In part because I kept having to find information from a place that I wasn't that familiar with.

If you are not going to wait for your K99 phase to end before transitioning it is even more important that you coordinate with your PO to make sure they have money in the correct fiscal year for you. You will have to submit this entire package through your new Grants office. I had to jump through some extra hoops since they hadn't done this before and also no one is familiar with you yet. Give yourself some extra time though, as PhysioProf noted in earlier comments, if the timeline gets tight the Grants office should be able to get it done. It is overhead for them, after all.

One final thing (if you aren't done negotiating): I know someone that got their new Dept. to NOT take overhead from the R00 (you get total 249K, not 249+indirect!). Especially in some places with >80% F&A that is HUGE.

Good luck!

6 responses so far

  • Odyssey says:

    >Arlenna over at ChemicalBiLOLogy also has some experience with this. It's unfortunate that your emailer's PO is a sea anemone impersonator. Nonetheless the emailer must do everything they can to communicate with the PO.I wonder if there is one of those Rosetta Stone language programs for learning sea anemone-ese...

  • Gerty-Z says:

    >Good call, Odyssey. That was an egregious oversight on my part.

  • Arlenna says:

    >Damn!!!! I REALLY wish I had thought about that not-taking-overhead thing!!!! It would have probably needed to be negotiated at the time I started my position here, which was two years ago now, so I severely doubt they would agree to it now that I am already around. What a good idea!!!My transition experience is proceeding pretty much exactly as you describe above. My PO is very communicative and helpful. I'm going to post about it on my blog and forum once I have some time. Gerty-Z, it would be great if you could share your experience there too! 🙂

  • Gerty-Z says:

    >Hello, Arlenna! Thanks for visiting. I wish I could take credit for the overhead work-around, but it was not my idea. I stole it immediately, though! This was a moment when I realized that really, EVERYTHING is negotiable.

  • Comrade PhysioProf says:

    >It's worth pointing out that--depending on the F&A agreement between your institution and DHHS--there may be certain things you can spend money on from the R00 that are not eligible for indirects (such as equipment over some cap amount). If that is the case, then it saves you spendable funds to charge those things to the R00, and to charge to your start-up only those things that would be subject to indirects if charged to the R00.

  • tideliar says:

    >Excellent post (sorry I'm late), and doubly funny because PO in my head means Parole Officer:)

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