Background: I am a graduate student in neuroscience at a US institution. I have a specific aim that I wrote into an NIH grant back when I was less knowledgable, and as I have grown better versed in my field, I realized that there were related experiments that were technically not described in the aim, but are logically necessitated to happen before even executing the proposed grant aim. Key members of my thesis committee agree that I need to do preliminary experiments before getting to the proposed research.
Further, depending on these preliminary results, there is a small chance that the original grant aim would be inadvisable to execute as it is written. In so many words, the aim might have been written using too many assumptions in the underlying hypothesis due to my naïveté.
A couple questions:
- Is it bad to do these necessary experiments even though they are outside the aim?
- Assuming the preliminary experiments do not scientifically justify the grant aim, can I provide a report to the NIH describing what I did and possibly modify the aim and hypothesis appropriately; e.g. pursue a different but related direction?