I'm in a serious moral/ethical quandary about whether I can resubmit a grant in good faith.
Background: I submitted a Career Development grant ("K") to the NIMH in June, and got a good, but not yet fundable score back in November. It was a 35, which may mean something for those who know the NIH scoring system. The deadline for resubmission approaches rapidly and most if not all of the comments are addressable in a resubmitted grant. So 4 years of salary+benefits plus research money is possible, but I certainly could fail to get it and wouldn't want to count solely on it. I do have some internal grant funding, but not enough, for next year and my PD mentor may be able to scrounge up enough to keep me at a similar salary to what I have now - on the higher end for PD, but low compared to faculty. Getting the K grant would literally give me over 1.5 times the salary I currently have. My PD mentor wants to know whether I am "all in" as we need to contact mentors and consultants for their letters of support.
My issue with this is my SO has a strong desire to move back to SO's hometown or nearby, and SO has two great job opportunities there already, one of which is a dream job. I have this feeling that SO's going to get one of them. Also, I have a few faculty applications in the same area that I have not heard back from yet. I really understand SO's desire to move back near home/family, and SO's salary would be pretty good for either position. If I strike out on the job market, I could start applying to other kinds of positions in industry or government. SO's salary could probably cover our expenses in this cheaper area if I start providing day care (not my preference though).
However, I worked hard on my K application and so did my PD mentor, and it would be sad to walk away from the idea and potential opportunity. So I am leaning toward resubmitting, but if I did resubmit and then either my SO or I get a position (or both), we'd have to take them because it is a sure bet rather than subject to the vagaries of the NIH. I don't want to resubmit in bad faith, but it is also possible that all of our positions could fall through and the K would be great for me (but not as much for SO). SO has a job here and could continue in it, but is not keen on that both for personal and professional reasons.
Some folks around here have suggested that if I got the K that I could convince the NIMH to transfer it to a different institution. However, it involves working with a specific clinical population and using resources here to identify and recruit them. I would have to start from scratch at a new place. It also involves neuroimaging as an essential component, and I am not sure if I can get that a new place. It involves specific mentors, and I'd have to find a way to work remotely with them (or find new ones) and would definitely need to find a brand new Primary Mentor (currently my PD mentor). So transferring K = not easy, maybe not even possible. It would be awful to get a K and have to give it up because we've already committed elsewhere.
One other non-negiotable: because we have young children, I refuse to do the split-city thing. It is a 6-7 hr drive between where we are now and SO's hometown area.
So, given all of this, should I resubmit anyway (but feel like I am doing so in semi-bad faith) or bag it and lose out on the potential for an awesome career-boosting grant? Related question: if I strike out on the job market (and it looks like it is going that way) should I start applying now for those other industry/government positions while working on a K resubmission? That seems even more like working in bad faith…
Thanks to all for advice, especially if you have been in a similar situation.