Oye. I just got a grant that uses my lab's current model to review. We (me and my marvelous lab group) pioneered this model. It would not have worked without lots of help from the brilliant Postdoc and the (now-gone) SuperTech and the hard-working and creative (current) techs. More to the point, Brilliant Post-doc (BPD) has several (4? 5?) first authored papers, and a handful (2? 3?) med-student trainees have others.
So, I know the PI on the proposal, but not we do not collaborate, so no conflict of interest. I don't own the model, of course. The proposal is doing something different. But the premise (and NIH does care about premise) is based on those 4-8 pubs. I tried to take a step back and think: if not mine, would I care? And, the answer is: if I knew, "care" is the wrong word, but I would see it as a flaw in the proposal. This person is claiming that this model is appropriate for this question, and that appropriateness is something established by my lab.
Does it matter? To me, not really. I am an old farte. To my postdoc? Hell, yes. It is very, very, very important.
But mostly I know that this PI knows the work. We go to the same small clinical meeting, and we are two of the very small number (5% 10%?) who do animal based work. Everyone is in the audience (no concurrent sessions [brief aside: "sessions" "trump" so many beautiful words ruined by today's politics]), and last year or the year before one of her students gave the talk right before BPD gave a talk using this model. The description of the technique in the proposal is nearly identical to what we've published, but in a different species.
What is going on in her head? Does she think citing BPD is going to somehow make her work less? I am sure if I asked her she would say something like "oh, what you do is so different, I am working on baby bunnies, and you are doing geriatrics". So what is going on in her head? She forgot?