The role of preliminary data in an R01

As I sit down to put my R01A1 in for the July deadline, I am seriously looking at my prelim data. You must have prelim data for an R01. In the Olden Days it was sufficient to have prelim data that said “I can do the experiments”. This is no longer true. Now your prelim data must support the hypotheses that you have under each specific aim (you do have hypotheses under your specific aims, don’t you?). In essence, you have to have done the specific experiments you propose, and get results (maybe not significance, but qualitative results) that support your preferred hypothesis or your two alternatives.


3 thoughts on “The role of preliminary data in an R01

  1. It likely varies with study section, but I have heard this as an explicit critique that was enough to reduce scores to high 20’s low 30’s.

  2. Maybe I can expand on CPP’s comment. The take we have on preliminary data is proof of feasibility: proof of feasibility of the experiments in your hands, and feasibility of your hypotheses. This is not the same as having “already done the experiments before you apply”, which is how some people interpret that. It should be an indication that you’re barking up the right tree and have the skills to pull it off.

    And every aim needs some data. I often see six figures for Aim 1, and none for Aim 3. That’s problematic.

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