Just got a collaborative proposal rejected from the NSF Human-Centered Computing program. It was about an approach to improving software engineering for computational science & engineering projects, by tailoring techniques that are known to work in traditional IT. This line in the panel summary writeup broke my heart:
A significant concern was that the work had an unclear scientific contribution: the work proposed seems like an application of known principles (indeed, only a few principles) and so not likely to provide an advance in knowledge or understanding in a scientific field.
I was hoping applying known principles would have been a plus (more likely to succeed!), but instead it turned out to be a minus. *sigh*