From enhancing diversity to supporting training in emerging fields, over the past three years NIH has continued to examine the needs of the biomedical workforce and create initiatives that will sustain the amazing work being performed by you, the extramural research community.
Our efforts place a lot of focus on trainees and early stage investigators through policy changes and new programs, but there are two sides to every equation. We have many well-established research programs run by senior investigators. We want to explore how we can help senior investigators who wish to transition out of a position that relies on funding from NIH research grants, and facilitate the transfer of their work, knowledge and resources to junior colleagues. There are many high impact ways in which established investigators can contribute to science. I’ve written before about the importance of mentorship for example.
We have heard of interest in such an “emeritus award” from the research community, for example as described in a recent FASEB report on sustaining discovery in biomedical science, and we are inviting you to join us in some creative thinking and contribute ideas on this topic. As stated in the request for information (RFI) published today, we welcome public comment on the following:
Community interest in an emeritus award that allows a senior investigator to transition out of role or position that relies on funding from NIH research grants
- Ideas for how one would utilize an emeritus award (e.g., to facilitate laboratory closure; to promote partnership between a senior and junior investigator; to provide opportunities for acquiring skills needed for transitioning to a new role)
- Suggestions for the specific characteristics for an emeritus award (e.g., number of years of support; definition of a junior faculty partner)
- Ways in which NIH could incentivize the use of an emeritus award, from the perspectives of both senior investigators and institutions
- Impediments to the participation in such an award program, from the perspectives of both senior investigators and institutions
- Any additional comments you would like to offer to NIH
I’d love to hear your comments and while I always invite discussion on the blog, it would be best to submit your specific ideas on the NIH Emeritus Award through the method listed in the RFI to assure they are considered in our formal analysis. We look forward to your input.