Your article on "early-career awards" (S. Benowitz, The Scientist, May 26, 1997, page 13) is propagating a crucial bit of mis(dis)information with the statement that National Institutes of Health R29 (FIRST) awards "are judged on the strength and justification of their untested research proposals." The fact is that R29 applicants are expected to have track records and preliminary data just as the R01 applicants are. The R29s are judged by the study sections together with R01s and if, as they euphemistically term it, "there is a lack of confidence in the applicant's ability to carry out the research proposals," the application will be triaged out and will never even receive a review on the merits of the research proposal, no matter how stellar it might be.

Furthermore, there is no separate grant money set aside for the R29s, so even though there may be nominal instructions to...

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