NIH Helps Small Businesses Change the World

Did you know that the NIH’s small business programs (SBIR and STTR) invest over 1 billion dollars into life science and healthcare companies each year? The newly-created Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) office provides grantees with many of the valuable entrepreneurship and commercialization services we have discussed in previous blogs to help them thrive. Continue reading

Institute and Center Award Rates and Funding Disparities

In 2011, Ginther et al. first demonstrated that African American and Black applicants to the National Institutes of Health received grant awards at a lower rate than their white counterparts (Ginther 2011). Since then, multiple studies have reproduced and extended this finding (Ginther 2011; Ginther 2016; Hoppe 2019; Erosheva 2020). Recently we reported that African American and Black (AAB) PIs are more likely to propose research on topics that are less likely to be funded (Hoppe 2019). We found that topic choice has little or no effect on whether an application is chosen for discussion, but after considering a number of confounders, it accounts for over 20% of the gap in funding success for applications that are discussed. Continue reading

An Early Look at Applications Submitted During the Pandemic

It has been four months since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered laboratories and clinical studies across the country and the world. On April 10, only a few weeks into the pandemic, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report describing the consequences of social distancing and other pandemic mitigation measures. These consequences included laboratory closures, de-prioritized projects, cancellation of meetings and conferences, loss of revenue, disrupted personnel processes, supply-chain interruptions, and, overlying all of these, a great deal of uncertainty. Since the CRS report was issued, we have learned more about the pandemic’s effects on non-COVID research and on the research workforce. Continue reading

Useful Flexibilities for Animal Care and Use Programs to Comply with the PHS Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we continue to address the effects of COVID-19 and as some states and institutions are considering reopening, we would like to share some administrative flexibilities that NIH is providing to research institutions with laboratory animal programs. These flexibilities are meant to assure personnel safety and animal welfare while enabling research personnel to prioritize and preserve research efforts. Some of these can be useful in reducing administrative burden, too. Continue reading

Addressing Foreign Interference and Associated Risks to the Integrity of Biomedical Research, and How You Can Help

On Tuesday, June 23, Dr. Kelvin Drogemeier, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), gave a presentation to the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) on “Enhancing the Security and Integrity of America’s Research Enterprise.” Dr. Drogemeier articulated five “key takeaway” messages. I’d like to take this opportunity to summarize Dr. Drogemeier’s presentation and how it fits within the context of NIH extramural research. Continue reading

Help Us Strengthen Rigor of Animal Research: Public Feedback Requested

Ever figured out a clever solution to a vexing challenge that affected the rigor of your work with laboratory animals, and then thought that those solutions could improve the quality and transparency of animal research supported across NIH? Recently found yourself at virtual lab meetings brainstorming ways to facilitate translating the findings from your animal study to human biology and disease? Questioned the status quo on how the research culture drives the choice of animal models and the design of experiments? Well, we want to know more. Continue reading

Accepting Preliminary Data as Post-Submission Material and Other COVID-19-Related Application Flexibilities

As our nation looks to begin reopening, NIH continues to track how well our policies are meeting the evolving needs of the research community. In this post we would like to highlight allowance of preliminary data as a new special exception to our post submission materials policy and our guidance for reviewers. Continue reading

Anonymizing Peer Review for the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award Applications

NIH is seeking applications for the 2021 Transformative Research awards through a new funding opportunity (RFA-RM-20-013) recently released on Friday, May 21, 2020. And, as a way to address concerns about bias in peer review while also enhancing diversity, this High Risk, High Reward program is going to anonymize the review of Transformative Research Award applications. Continue reading

Case Study in Review Integrity: Embellished Credentials in a Grant Application

Have you ever been tempted to embellish your credentials in a grant application? What about fabricating credentials? Would this be a case of research misconduct or a violation of review integrity? These can be costly errors, as shown by the case described below (inspired by a true story; we’ve changed details and fictionalized names). Continue reading