In a recent conversation with a young colleague (not in my department), I was amazed to find that s/he had given up on a project after a grant proposal was not funded on the first submission. I can’t remember my early career days well enough to recall how I came to realize that proposals can and should be resubmitted if there is any indication (e.g., from the program director or reviews) that the project has merit.
The revision needs to be a serious one in most cases, and this is a good thing. There certainly are cases in which review comments are bizarre and the reasons for a proposal’s rejection are difficult to understand, but even in those cases, the revised proposal is typically much better than the first version just because you’ve had more time to think about the research and may even have some additional ideas (or data).
Having a proposal rejected feels terrible, but if you still think it’s a great project and you have an idea for how to improve the proposal, resubmit resubmit resubmit.
A related issue is the fact that this young scientist was not being given advice about these things in his/her own department. It was random chance that we had a conversation, and I just happened to ask how things were going regarding getting new projects started. We ended up talking for hours.
2 years ago