Rigorous Resources for Rigorous Research

Over two years ago, NIH rolled out a policy to enhance reproducibility of its supported research through rigor and transparency. Applicants and reviewers were required to devote more attention to four areas: the rigor of the prior research (scientific premise), the rigor of the proposed research (scientific rigor), consideration of biological variables including sex, and the authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources.
When the 21st Century Cures Act was passed later that same year, we were required, amongst other things, to assemble a working group of the Advisory Council to the NIH Director (ACD). These experts were charged with recommending ways to further enhance reproducibility of the research we fund, while being informed by the current policy.
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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

Tune in to the ACD Meeting Today and Friday

I’m at the December Advisory Council to the Director (ACD) meeting today and tomorrow. Several updates and reports from ACD working groups are on the agenda.

Today, we’ll discuss the whirlwind of activities that NIH and HHS have been involved in related to the 2014 Ebola crisis, and we’ll hear updates on peer review evaluation and workforce diversity efforts. I’ll also be co-presenting with Dr. Sherry Mills, director of the Office of Extramural Programs within OER, and co-chair of the ACD’s Physician-Scientist Workforce working group. …. Continue reading

More on the Physician-Scientist Workforce

A major report on the Physician-Scientist Workforce was presented and discussed at the most recent Advisory Council to the Director (ACD) meeting. It was a highly anticipated follow-up to the Biomedical Workforce report from a couple years earlier. I want to follow-up my earlier post with a closer look at some key points presentation by the Physician-Scientist Workforce (PSW) working group. Continue reading

Reports on the BRAIN Initiative and the Physician-Scientist Workforce

I’ll be at the June Advisory Council to the Director (ACD) meeting this Thursday and Friday. Several updates and reports from ACD working groups are on the agenda. Two working groups will be presenting reports on the topics they were charged to explore. …. Continue reading

Collecting Data on Postdoc Benefits

NIH’s biomedical research workforce initiatives, which implement Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) recommendations, include improving graduate student and postdoctoral research training through a number of measures, including increasing postdoctoral stipends to reflect years of training, and considering policies on benefits. In February we announced increases to NRSA stipend levels in the NIH Guide. Today, I’d like to talk about how we are proceeding with evaluating postdoc benefits. Continue reading

A New Opportunity in Big Data

In addition to all the biomedical workforce activity following December’s Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting, other ACD working group initiatives have also been busy launching their flagship programs, as well. …. Most recently, NIH announced the flagship program for supporting challenges related to “Big Data” …. Continue reading

Update on the Physician Scientist Workforce Workgroup and More at the ACD Meeting

The Advisory Committee to the Director meeting will be held today and tomorrow, and there are many exciting topics that will be presented and discussed, such as neuroscience research and the BRAIN initiative, improvement of preclinical research reporting and design …. Continue reading