Nexus May 2009

Director's Column

Draft Guidelines on Stem Cells

NIH issued a draft of the Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research on Friday, April 17. This draft is a crucial step toward implementing President Obama’s Executive Order 13505, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells. Establishing policy and procedures under which NIH will support research in this area will help to ensure that NIH-funded research is ethically responsible, scientifically valuable, and in compliance with the law.

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Top Stories

What to Do If Your Award or Application Involves Stem Cells

If you are conducting ongoing NIH-funded research involving previously approved uses of human stem cells, please know that your research may continue as NIH works to finalize the Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research. While no new uses of human embryonic stem cells may be initiated in NIH-funded studies at this time, NIH will continue to accept competing applications proposing the use of human embryonic stem cells during the period of Guideline development.

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The National Institutes of Health Reiterates Its Stance on Terrorism and Violence Against Researchers

NIH Acting Director Dr. Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D. has issued a statement condemning terrorist acts against researchers and institutions who use animals in their work. Dr. Kington emphasized the important role that these researchers play in the health of our nation and that federal funding supporting their work is based on national health needs. Dr. Kington further reiterated the high standards of accountability for animal welfare to which their research is held in order to receive federal funds.

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Challenge Grant Applications are In!

Approximately 15,000 Challenge Grant applications are working their way through the submission process. Applications submitted by the initial April 27 deadline have until Friday, May 8 to complete the submission process.

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More Opportunities through the Recovery Act Announced

The Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grants support small research projects conducted by faculty and students at institutions that have not been major recipients of NIH research grant funds. This program has long sought to strengthen the research environment at such institutions by supporting the meritorious research of investigators who will then be able to involve students in the research process. Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, applicants to the AREA grants program may now request a maximum of $300,000 total direct costs plus applicable Facilities and Administrative (F&A)/ indirect costs for the entire project period of up to three years.

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Tips for Great Grant Writing (Part 4): New Investigator? Why and How to Go for an R01!

Over the years, there has been varying advice about the best type of grant with which to launch your career–R21, R03, R01? NIH recently issued a guide notice suggesting that you consider an R01 for a number of reasons. As you may know, New or Early Stage Investigator Status affords you special consideration during the peer review process for R01 grants.

BONUS!Check out these successful R01 applications from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

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How Can Institutions and their IACUCs Best Prepare for a Pandemic?

Institutions must adhere to provisions of the PHS Policy, the Guide, and the commitments detailed in their Animal Welfare Assurance with OLAW. This includes advance planning for conditions that could arise as a result of a human pandemic (e.g., influenza) that could jeopardize the health and wellbeing of animals because of a lack of personnel to care for the animals and/or to conduct IACUC official business. Pandemic plans developed by institutions and IACUCs should include consideration of the following…

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Are You Ready for Enhanced Peer Review?

Finally, after the year-long study to assess NIH Peer Review, the first review meetings to use criterion scoring and the new 1 to 9 scoring scale are here! To help the extramural community prepare for these changes, we have created several sets of resources.

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eRA News

eRA Commons, eSubmission Systems Unavailable May 22 to May 26 as eRA Upgrades Major Hardware

With an eye to improving system performance and creating a more stable environment, NIH’s electronic Research Administration (eRA) has planned a major infrastructure upgrade for the end of May around the Memorial Day weekend. Months of meticulous planning will culminate in a switchover to new database servers, a new operating environment, and new storage area networks. Due to the complexity of this major infrastructure upgrade, all eRA systems–including eRA Commons and the eSubmission system–will be unavailable from May 22 through May 26 as eRA implements the cutover.

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Calendar

Las Vegas Regional Seminar

Thanks to the 850 wonderful folks who joined us at our Regional Seminar in Atlanta in April! Our upcoming NIH Regional Seminar in Las Vegas offers still another opportunity to receive great grant tips and to share ideas with approximately … Continue reading

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Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare Online Seminars

On June 11, Dr. Christian Newcomer, AAALAC International, will be the guest speaker for the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) Outreach Program, a free online seminar series. From 2 to 3 p.m. (Eastern time) – Institutional Animal Care and … Continue reading

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Other NIH Happenings

Seeking Grants Policy Analysts

NIH is seeking two Grants Policy Analysts to work with the Office of the Director in the Office of Extramural Research. These analysts will work within the Division of Grants Policy (DGP) to ensure the effective administration of federal policies and regulations governing discretionary grant programs and to provide NIH grants administration policy guidance to NIH extramural staff and grantee organizations.

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