NIH abandons plans to limit individual research funding, creates special fund

After much criticism, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it will abandon the Grant Support Index (GSI) plan – a strategy to bolster NIH funding support for the next generation of researchers by placing limits on individual research funding which SSTI previously covered.. Instead, NIH will launch the Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) that will allocate $1.1 billion over the next five years to support nearly 2,400 new grants for early and mid-career researchers whose grant proposals receive high scores, but fall short of receiving funds. At this time, however, there was no immediate promise of where that money would be found, according to an article in the The Chronicle of Higher Education.

NIH considers limits on individual research funding; impacts examined

In Part 1 of this two-part series, SSTI examined NIH’s proposed changes that will place limits on individual researcher funding. In Part 2, impacts of the limits are explored.

In the May 18th Digest, proposed changes to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants funding process were highlighted. The changes – tilted the Grant Support Index (GSI) – would impose a general limit of three major grants per researcher. Since the article was published, the NIH’s director, Francis Collins, announced during a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee that NIH intends to proceed with the GSI proposal. In this second part of the series,SSTI reveals areas within the field of tech-based economic development that could see the benefits and/or the negative unintended consequences of these changes.

Highlights from the President's FY 2018 Budget Request: Dept. of Health and Human Services

The administration’s FY 2018 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is $69.8 billion in discretionary spending, reflecting a $14.6 billion (17.3 percent) decrease from FY 2017 estimated funding levels. Discretionary spending accounts for approximately 7 percent of the total proposed HHS budget. Mandatory spending for programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program account for the balance. Total FY 2018 budget authority for HHS would be $1.1 trillion (0.03 percent increase over FY 2017 estimates).

NIH considers limits on individual research funding; impacts examined

In part one of two, SSTI will examine NIH’s proposed changes that will place limits on individual researcher funding.

On May 2, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it intends to implement a new approach to grant funding with the purpose of increasing the number of researchers receiving grants. These proposed changes are due to a highly skewed distribution of NIH funding with 10 percent of NIH-funded investigators receiving over 40 percent of funding. NIH intends to roll out specific policies and procedures as part of the new approach – titled the Grant Support Index (GSI) – that will assess effectiveness of NIH research investments. During this time, NIH also will seek feedback from on how best to implement the individual grant funding limits.

Budget deal supports innovation, research

Congress has passed a budget for FY 2017 that largely continues support for federal innovation programs and R&D investments. Among the highlights are $17 million for Regional Innovation Strategies (a $2 million increase over FY 2016), level funding of $130 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $5 million for SBA’s clusters program. In reviewing dozens of line items, offices that had received significant cuts in the White House’s skinny budget appear to receive some of the largest funding increases (such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Development Block Grant and ARPA-E). However, with the exception of multi-billion dollar increases for Department of Defense R&D, many increases are rather small in terms of overall dollars. This is, at least in part, a reflection of non-defense spending caps rising by only $40 million for FY 2017, limiting the availability of new funds. In this context, science and innovation gains are particularly impressive, with a five percent overall increase for federal R&D that particularly benefits NASA and NIH.

Publicly funded biomedical research paves way for private R&D

Although the U.S. National Institutes of Health may face decreased funding under the new presidential administration, recently published research in Science argues that public investments in biomedical research play an important role in driving private sector R&D. In an analysis of 365,380 grants awarded by the U.S.

Is Peer Review Stifling Innovation at NIH?

With the visionary language of large federal initiatives like the “Cancer Moonshot” or provocative branding such as “NIH…Turning Discovery into Health®” and the National Institute of Health website further touting “revolutionary ideas often come from unexpected directions,” one might assume an equally ambitious approach is being taken to ensure federal life sciences research is going toward research with the most promise for positive impact and scientific advancement.

NIH R01 Awards: Fewer Winners, Bigger Prizes

Despite increasing demand for life sciences research funding and larger budgets from Congress, access to the investigator research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is getting harder, according to data released May 31 by Michael Lauer, NIH deputy director for Extramural Research.  R01 grants, the oldest and predominant funding mechanism NIH uses to distribute project-specific research grants, are becoming larger in size and more exclusive in who receives the grants.

NIH Invites Comments on Framework for Five-Year Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a request for information (RFI) that invites comments and suggestions from the public to help in the development of its new five-year strategic plan.

NIH Announces $46 Million in First Round of Funding for BRAIN Initiative

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its first round of investments totaling $46 million under the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The $46 million will support more than 100 investigator-led research projects in 15 states and several countries to support the development of new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action.


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