A Grant Submission New Year’s Resolution

When it comes to submitting grant applications, the stakes are high – should a submission with errors come in too late, it may be too late to fix. Months of work are lost. Since grant applications are anxiety producing, it is only natural that people would avoid finishing them. But hard facts about how applications fare in peer review when they are submitted closer to the receipt date may give applicants the cognitive tools they need to overcome their inclination to delay. So let’s look at some data… Continue reading

Setting the Course for Scientific Discovery

On Wednesday, NIH published its strategic plan for fiscal years 2016-2020. We strongly encourage you to take a look at the plan, which focuses on four objectives that will help guide NIH’s priorities over the next five years. The objectives align with many familiar themes for readers of this blog: advance opportunities in biomedical research in fundamental science, treatment and cures, and health promotion and disease prevention; foster innovation by setting NIH priorities to enhance nimbleness, consider burden of disease and value of …. Continue reading

Preprints in Clinical Research?

On September 11, 2015, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) announced that it was stopping its Systolic Pressure Intervention Trial (“SPRINT”). The Institute’s Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) had reviewed interim data and concluded that the results demonstrated clear benefit from aggressive blood pressure lowering. The trial enrolled over 9300 adults with systolic hypertension and increased cardiovascular risk and randomized them to standard control (aiming for a target systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg) or to aggressive control (aiming for a target blood pressure of 120 mm Hg). …. Continue reading

What Does It Mean to Consider Sex as a Relevant Biological Variable in Your NIH Grant Application?

In 2014, NIH announced plans for policy changes to ensure that NIH-supported investigators consider relevant measures, including sex as a biological variable (SABV), in preclinical research. NIH solicited feedback through a request for information, and we invited the research community to participate in workshops and resource development. These activities led to new guidelines for addressing SABV as an aspect of rigor and reproducibility in NIH research project grant applications and mentored career development award applications due January 25, 2016, and beyond. As you prepare applications and think about addressing the new instructions we wanted to offer some reminders about the policy’s origin, and about the application and review information. In particular, we wanted to point out what including SABV does not mean. …. Continue reading

Conversations About NIH Support of Graduate Training Programs

Monday, in a blog post on the Feedback Loop, colleagues at NIGMS outline the recent history of NIH’s efforts that impact graduate student training, as well as recent discussions beyond NIH on how to modernize and revitalize graduation education and training.

These conversations raise an important question, “Is NIH’s support of graduate-level training keeping pace with how we do science?”. ….. Continue reading