Director Search to Resume

Chris Kaiser, who had been selected as the NIGMS director, withdrew his candidacy on April 23 for personal reasons, so a new search for a permanent NIGMS director will need to be initiated. I will continue to serve as acting NIGMS director during this process. When a vacancy announcement for the position is available, we’ll share it with you. In the meantime, you can read a post about the previous search process.

Got Questions About Administrative Supplements?

Are you thinking about applying for an administrative supplement for your NIGMS-funded grant?

Before you apply, check out our new administrative supplements Web site, which focuses on administrative supplements to address unforeseen circumstances or opportunities. It answers such questions as:

  • What types of unforeseen circumstances or opportunities qualify?
  • Why should I contact my program director before working on a supplement application?
  • When should I submit my application?

In addition to addressing these and other questions, the site also provides links to information about other NIGMS-funded supplements (e.g., workforce diversity, research career re-entry and collaborative science) that can help you determine which type would best meet your needs.

Diversity, Re-Entry Research Supplement Funding Opportunities

You may be interested in the following reissued funding opportunity announcements:

Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp)
(PA-12-149)

Purpose: Request supplemental funds to existing research grants to improve the diversity of the research workforce by supporting and recruiting high school, undergraduate, postbaccalaureate or graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from groups that are underrepresented in health-related research (racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from socially, culturally, economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds). See our diversity supplements Web site for additional information.
Application due date: Supplement requests may be submitted throughout the year
NIGMS contact: Your program director or Marion Zatz, 301-594-3833

Research Supplements to Promote Re-Entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers (Admin Supp)
(PA-12-150)

Purpose: Request supplemental funds to existing research grants to support individuals with high potential to re-enter an active research career after an interruption for family responsibilities or other qualifying circumstances. See our supplements for career re-entry Web site for additional information.
Application due date: Supplement requests may be submitted throughout the year
NIGMS contact: Your program director or Marion Zatz, 301-594-3833

Next Deadline for Collaborative Science Supplement Requests

The next application deadline for the Administrative Supplements for Collaborative Science (SCS) program is May 15, 2012. Applications may be submitted on paper, as described in the announcement, or through the electronic submission pilot for administrative supplement requests.

The SCS program provides supplements to support new collaborations that will advance the aims of the parent R01 or R37 grant, which must be actively funded through at least November 30, 2013. The most compelling supplement requests propose to take advantage of new scientific opportunities and involve collaborators from other disciplines.

SCS awards are very competitive, so you should talk to your program director to assess whether your ideas fit this program before writing an application.

Register Now for First TWD Division Grantee Meeting

TWD 2012 Meeting bannerThe first meeting of NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD) Exit icon grantees will be held on June 12-15, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting will provide TWD grantees with the opportunity to meet NIGMS program, review and grants management staff as well as incoming NIGMS Director Chris Kaiser.

General sessions planned for this year’s meeting include discussions about the Institute’s strategic plan for training and the vision of the new TWD division. There will also be “how to” sessions on various topics such as developing an evaluation plan, helping students transition to training programs at research-intensive institutions, and building effective business offices for managing TWD grants.

The 2012 meeting is intended for grantees of the following student and postdoctoral development programs:

  • Predoctoral T32 training programs
  • IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence
  • Bridges to the Baccalaureate
  • Bridges to the Doctorate
  • Initiative for Maximizing Student Development
  • Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award
  • MARC Ancillary Training Activities
  • MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research Award
  • Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program
  • Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement

Meeting registration is open until May 14, but seating is limited, so we encourage you to sign up soon.

We hope to see you in June!

Inside the Budget Process

When a new appropriation is passed, we are often asked how soon awards will be made and other implications of the funding level. So we thought we’d offer a description of the 3-year budget process Exit icon, including an explanation of what we need to do to make awards once we have an appropriation.

The Federal budget process has three main phases: formulation, presentation (to Congress) and execution. From the beginning of the budget formulation phase to the end of the execution phase, the process takes almost 3 years.
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The Federal budget process has three main stages: formulation, presentation (to Congress) and execution. From the beginning of the budget formulation stage to the end of the execution stage, the process takes almost 3 years.

Stage 1a: Budget Formulation at the NIH Level (usually June through October of year 1)

NIH develops an agency-wide budget request and submits it to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS reviews the request and provides an allowance of funds with policy guidelines.
Negotiations follow between NIH and HHS, resulting in a final budget allowance that HHS submits to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB reviews the HHS request along with all other department budgets and issues another budget allowance with policy guidelines.

After more negotiations, OMB issues a final allowance. NIH reworks its budget to fit this allowance and its guidelines, then makes allocations to each institute and center.

Stage 1b: Budget Formulation at the Institute/Center Level (usually November through January of year 2)

Each institute or center allocates its budget on a mechanism-by-mechanism basis (i.e., separate budget allocations for research grants, center grants, training grants, etc.) following the guidance provided by OMB and NIH. For an example, see this budget mechanism table.

Typical guidance examples include:

  • X% reduction on noncompeting research project grants.
  • The same overall average cost for competing grants as in the previous year.
  • The same number of trainees supported as in the previous year.

Stage 2: Budget Presentation to Congress (January through September of year 2)

The President issues his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year Exit icon, usually in early February.

Each institute or center then issues a Congressional justification (CJ) document defending its portion of the President’s budget request to Congress. The CJ displays budgets for the prior year, current year and upcoming year, along with other tables and program descriptions.

Next, usually in the spring, the NIH Director and selected institute or center directors attend Congressional hearings with the House and Senate subcommittees in charge of NIH appropriations. The NIH Director presents an opening statement and the committee members ask questions in person and later in writing. All directors submit written opening statements and may have to answer questions even if they don’t testify at a hearing.

The House and Senate subcommittees develop a budget allowance for each institute or center, including “report language” identifying any specific guidance and significant items they wish to address. This is followed by a conference to work out the differences and finally by an appropriation to each institute or center that the President signs into law.

If a budget is not approved by the start of the fiscal year (October 1), Congress will usually pass a continuing resolution to provide temporary funding. Under a standard continuing resolution, current operations may continue at a specified funding level, including the funding of some grants, but new programs cannot be started.

Stage 3: Budget Execution of the Current-Year Appropriation (October 1 through September 30 of year 3)

Once an appropriation is signed, several additional steps must take place before we can begin funding grants. For example, we need to submit documents to OMB so it can make funds available to us on a quarterly basis. Also, we need to implement the policy guidance and modify our grants management systems accordingly.

We then allocate the funds by mechanism, applying current policies and determining the cost of commitments within those mechanisms. We allocate the bulk of the remaining competing funds to investigator-initiated research project grants (RPGs), with a small portion going to special initiatives. RPG funds are disbursed to the NIGMS divisions three times per year, following each advisory council meeting. The divisions’ budgets are based on the specific applications assigned to them and their scores. Divisions make funding decisions that take into consideration the applications’ scientific merit, new investigator support, area of research and other parameters.

Outsourcing Lab Procedures: What Are Your Needs and Ideas?

Do you want to have more or easier access to state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies for your research? Are there specific types of non-clinical laboratory procedures that you wish were available through an outsourcing service?

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then please consider responding to our Request for Information (RFI): Priorities for Outsourcing of Laboratory Procedures. The RFI will help us identify research areas, such as assays, measurements and computational and data management tasks, that could be developed into outsourced services perhaps by small businesses and possibly supported through new funding opportunities.

Responses, which are voluntary and anonymous, should be submitted electronically by May 1, 2012.

UPDATE: The response deadline has been extended to May 15 (NOT-GM-12-110).