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…
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 ….
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). ….
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. ….
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?”. …..
In 2014, the NIH announced that it was going to distribute the NIH postdoctoral benefits survey to collect information on benefits available to postdoctoral researchers at different institutions. The survey was launched in response to a report on the biomedical research workforce from an Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) working group. ….
As part of a wider initiative to shape the future direction of research training for the biomedical workforce as a whole, we at the NIH are actively pursuing ways to examine the physician-scientist workforce and to optimize training for clinicians seeking research careers. Physician-scientists face some challenges and career transition pathways unique to being in a clinical career track, hence the need for a specific focus on this workforce.
Three years ago, NIH created a program to enable extramural researchers to collaborate with our intramural scientists and use the exceptional resources of the NIH Clinical Center. Since then, 20 awards have been made to support projects of significant breadth, such as a trial for treatment of relapsed leukemia; a malaria vaccine trial; and a trial testing a new cardiac catheter. This is the fourth year that NIH has issued this funding opportunity. The December 15 pre-application deadline is approaching, and I wanted to remind you what this program offers. ….
In today’s New England Journal of Medicine, Richard Nakamura, the director of NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR), and I published an essay titled “Reviewing Peer Review at the NIH.” As the competition for NIH research grants has become increasingly stiff, review scores often are pointed to as the reason for failure to obtain funding. Indeed, over the past few years, peer review has come under increasing scrutiny. Critics have argued that peer review fails in its primary mission – to help funding agencies make the best decisions about which projects and which investigators to support. ….
Suppose a funding agency happens to have some extra money and needs to decide how to invest it. Should it invest that extra money in a large, highly productive laboratory, so that laboratory can expand a bit more? Or should it invest that extra money in a small to moderate size laboratory? Given our inability to predict the future with great certainty, which approach represents the smarter investment strategy? Jon Lorsch, the director of the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), has posted an interesting video on just this question. ….