Nexus June 2017

Open Mike

Perspectives on Evidence-based Funding

At the NIH Regional Seminar this past May, I had the pleasure of giving the keynote talk and presenting different perspectives on how NIH can further the impact of our research funding. …. My staff recorded this talk and has made it available to you on the NIH Grants YouTube channel. If you’re interested in the topics covered here on the blog …. Continue reading

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NIH’s Next Generation Researchers Initiative

At the Advisory Committee to the Director meeting last week, NIH Principal Deputy Director Dr. Larry Tabak presented a new NIH initiative to strengthen the biomedical workforce. This presentation followed extensive discussions with stakeholders both here through this blog, at stakeholder meetings, and at NIH advisory council meetings over the last month. We heard unequivocal endorsements for supporting early-career and mid-career researchers given the hypercompetitive funding environment —a challenge we have addressed many times in my blog posts. However, many voiced concerns about our taking a formulaic approach to capping grant funding and called on us to be more direct in enabling greater support for the next generation of biomedical researchers. For this reason, we have shifted our approach to a focused initiative to support early- and mid-career investigators. …. Continue reading

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Getting to Know Federal Funders and their Research Interests

Working with NIH applicants and awardees as an extramural program division director, I often shared the NIH RePORTER resource as a tool for exploring the research topics NIH supports. Learning what projects we support, using a robust database of historical and newly-funded projects (updated weekly), provides researchers valuable insight as they consider developing their own research programs and applications for funding.

Another valuable tool which you might be familiar with is Federal RePORTER, which expands the RePORTER concept to support searching over 800,000 projects across 17 Federal research agencies, with trans-agency data updated annually. As Federal RePORTER recently received an update to introduce some new functions and additional agency data we’d like to highlight some of the ways it helps both the public and scientific researchers alike …. Continue reading

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Following Up on Your Feedback on How to Strengthen the Biomedical Research Workforce

We appreciate the many thoughtful comments posted to the blog about working together to improve NIH funding support for early- and mid-career investigators to stabilize the biomedical workforce and research enterprise using a measure called the Grant Support Index (GSI). Some clear themes have emerged, including: …. Continue reading

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Top Stories

Available Now: Legislative Mandates for the Use of NIH Funding

NIH’s fiscal year 2017 budget was signed into law on May 5. As we do every year, we have posted a list of the current statutory limits on the use of NIH grant, cooperative agreement, and contract awards. Read NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-17-075 for more information about these legislative mandates. Continue reading

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Receiving NIH Funding? Don’t Forget Your Responsibilities in Reporting Progress and Financials

If you are a recipient of NIH funding, then you are required to report on scientific progress and financial expenditures. Submitting timely, accurate, and complete reports are an essential part of the stewardship of federally-supported research, and …. Continue reading

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Making Institutional Training Tables Easier Through XTRACT

A feature within eRA Commons called the xTRACT module is available to help applicants create training data tables for institutional training grant applications, and to help grantees update these tables for their progress reports (RPPRs).

xTRACT is available to all institutions through eRA Commons. If you or your institution works with institutional training grant applications or progress reports, and are not taking advantage of this tool yet, consider the time-saving features the module provides.

Highlights include: …. Continue reading

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Important eRA Account Emails Headed Your Way

There’s only one you, and we want your identification in eRA Commons to represent that! If you have more than one eRA Commons account, look for an email coming your way this summer notifying you of potential duplicate accounts, and providing instructions on how to select your preferred account once you are logged into eRA Commons. …. Continue reading

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Issued Patent Citations Will Be Accepted As Post-Submission Application Materials

NIH recently updated its policy for what materials will be accepted as post-submission application materials. Beginning with applications submitted for due dates on or after September 25, 2017, citations of newly issued patents can be included in post-submission materials. The NIH post-submission materials policy allows grant applicants to submit limited information …. Continue reading

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You Ask, We Answer

We’re preparing a training grant application but don’t have all the historical data requested in the new data tables…. What should we do?

“We’re preparing a training grant application but don’t have all the historical data requested in the new data tables, such as the length of prior, full-time research experience for trainees entering the program five years ago. What should we do?”

Because reviewers are asked to assess a training program and its record based, in part, on data presented in the tables, applicants should provide as much data…. Continue reading

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What are Institutional Training Table Data Used For?

NIH institutional training grant applications request past and present faculty and trainee data, which are used by peer reviewers and NIH program staff in the evaluation of the application and making funding decisions. For active training grants, NIH requests trainee and faculty data to assess the progress of these ongoing training awards. These data provide insight into: …. Continue reading

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What Kind of Information Should I Include in the “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” Attachment?

Applicants proposing to use established key biological and/or chemical resources are expected to include an authentication plan in the “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment, even if the key resources were purchased or obtained from an outside source that provided data on prior authentication. The authentication plan must include only a description of the methods proposed to authenticate key resources prior to use and at regular intervals, if appropriate. The plan should be no more than one page. Key resources and the methods for authentication will vary by research field. For example, …. Continue reading

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What Are “Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” That Should Be Addressed In My Application’s Authentication Plan?

The quality of resources used to conduct research is critical to the ability to reproduce the results, so to address scientific rigor in your NIH application, we ask you to include an authentication plan.

Key resources refer to established resources that will be used in the proposed research.

Key biological and/or chemical resources include, but are not limited to, cell lines, specialty chemicals, antibodies and other biologics. Key biological and/or chemical resources may or may not have been generated with NIH funds and: …. Continue reading

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