It’s Just the Beginning . . .

Rock Talk ceases talking as of today, but someone else will be talking, so please keep your bookmarks active and stay tuned for continued dialog with NIH. I want to thank all of you for a conversation worth having and for making the last portion of my federal career spectacular. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to know and interact with many of you, which was hands down the highlight of my travels around town and across the country to learn first-hand …. Continue reading

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All About Indirect Costs

When I started Rock Talk, one of my goals was to lift the curtain on NIH decision-making and to demystify NIH policies and processes. One topic that I have talked endlessly about throughout my tenure is indirect costs (IDCs). Indirect costs generate almost more discussion than any other topic and there are many misunderstandings about them. Comments and questions reflect a range of perspectives, such as: “Indirect costs are rising all the time and eating up funds that could go for research.” and “Why can’t NIH reduce the rate of indirect costs?”. Others have asked us, “NIH – please get rid of the 26% cap in administrative indirect costs!” or simply want to know …. Continue reading

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Core Facts About Core Facilities

Today, I’d like to blog about some interesting discussions and dispel some myths related to NIH-supported core facilities. Core facilities are important research resources, providing access to advanced instrumentation and technologies operated by experts. Cores provide opportunities to be hubs of innovation at an institution, connecting scientists with the tools and expertise that can take their research projects to the next level. In March, NIH co-hosted a workshop with the Association of Biomolecular Research Facilities to discuss core facility management and strategies for increasing core facility efficiency. The meeting resulted in a set of recommendations for NIH and institutions to consider, and a report from the workshop is now available, if you’d like to read more. In addition, the presenters’ slides are posted on the workshop website, and each session was recorded and can be viewed online. Much of the workshop discussion involved core resource sharing and NIH’s policies on sharing of cores. NIH actively encourages …. Continue reading

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Help Us Help You!

Understanding what you need to know and do to apply for a grant can be a challenge. NIH’s application instruction guide is long, with lots of background information that you may only occasionally need. On top of that, funding opportunity announcements have instructions that often add to those in the application instruction guide. …. Continue reading

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Welcoming the Inaugural Director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs

I am pleased and excited to announce that in August, Dr. Kay Lund will join NIH as the inaugural director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs. As you might recall, the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director‘s Biomedical Workforce Working Group recommended that NIH recruit a leader and establish a dedicated office to guide NIH’s training and development of a well-prepared biomedical workforce…. Continue reading

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Understanding the Capacity of NIH’s Peer Review System

My office devotes a lot of effort to evaluating its grants policies and practices. Since the introduction of the Enhancing Peer Review changes, NIH has sponsored an ongoing evaluation of peer review, involving formal surveys about the peer review process, as well as other types of analyses. We are keenly interested in your responses to our surveys, so if you receive an invitation to take a peer review survey, I hope you can find the time to respond. The importance of participating in these surveys is nicely illustrated …. Continue reading

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Get To Know OER

My office, the Office of Extramural Research (OER), works closely with the extramural research community to support NIH’s mission of funding science that will enhance our knowledge of living systems, improve health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. While frequent readers of Rock Talk may be familiar with OER through the topics I blog about, there is much, much more that my office provides in support of NIH’s extramural program…. Continue reading

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NIH Regional Seminar Heads West to San Diego in October 2015

I’m excited to let you know about a wonderful opportunity for our extramural research community that’s headed to the west coast this fall! For the first time in several years, the NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration will be offered in the western half of the United States. This 2-day event, with an optional pre-seminar workshop day, will take place in San Diego from October 14 to October 16, 2015. …. Continue reading

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