Update on NIH Special Council Review Policy

NIH has announced a new policy whereby applications from investigators who receive more than $1 million in direct research support from active NIH grants will receive additional scrutiny by NIH institute and center (IC) advisory councils. This is a threshold, not a cap: Investigators may still receive additional grant awards if the ICs determine such awards will further their missions.

A few notes: The policy replaces a piloted one that set the threshold at $1.5 million total costs. NIGMS will continue its current practice that sets the threshold for special scrutiny of well-funded investigators at $750,000 or more in direct costs for all research support, regardless of the source.

Below is a chart that outlines some of the differences between the NIH and NIGMS policies. For more discussion on this topic, see comments to my earlier post.

NIH

NIGMS

Funding source

NIH only

NIH and non-NIH

Threshold

$1M direct costs on existing grants

$750K direct costs including the pending application

Exclusions

RFAs, P01s, some multi-PI awards

Resource awards

NIH Common Fund Extracellular RNA Communication Funding Opportunities

exRNA LogoThe NIH Common Fund has established a new program on extracellular RNA (exRNA) communication. The program seeks to discover fundamental biological principles of the mechanisms of exRNA generation, secretion and transport; to identify and develop a catalog of exRNA found in normal human body fluids; and to investigate the potential for using exRNAs in the clinic as therapeutic molecules or as disease biomarkers.

NIH recently issued the following funding opportunity announcements focused on these goals:

Extracellular RNA Biogenesis, Biodistribution, Uptake, and Effector Function (U19)
(RFA-RM-12-012)

Purpose: Stimulate multidisciplinary research projects to determine the principles that guide the selection of regulatory RNA molecules for extracellular transport, determine the function of these exRNAs, and focus on the role of exRNA communication in human health and disease
Letter of intent due date: October 12, 2012
Application due date: November 13, 2012
NIH contact: T. Kevin Howcroft, 301-496-7815

Reference Profiles of Human Extracellular RNA (U01)
(RFA-RM-12-011)

Purpose: Develop reference profiles for noncoding regulatory exRNAs from healthy human blood and other body fluid samples
Letter of intent due date: October 12, 2012
Application due date: November 13, 2012
NIH contact: Pothur R. Srinivas, 301-402-3712

Clinical Utility of Extracellular RNA for Biomarker Development (UH2/UH3)
(RFA-RM-12-013)

Purpose: Identify and quantify exRNA-based biomarkers derived from human body fluids in order to diagnose and monitor disease progression and response to therapy
Letter of intent due date: October 12, 2012
Application due date: November 13, 2012
NIH contact: Danilo A. Tagle, 301-594-8064

Clinical Utility of Extracellular RNA for Therapy Development (UH2/UH3)
(RFA-RM-12-014)

Purpose: Develop novel therapies and delivery techniques that demonstrate the potential clinical utility of exRNAs as therapeutic agents
Letter of intent due date: October 12, 2012
Application due date: November 13, 2012
NIH contact: Danilo A. Tagle, 301-594-8064

Data Management and Resource Repository (DMRR) on Extracellular RNA (U54)
(RFA-RM-12-010)

Purpose: Integrate the efforts of all of the funded components of the Common Fund exRNA communication program and serve as a community-wide resource for exRNA standards, protocols and data
Letter of intent due date: October 12, 2012
Application due date: November 13, 2012
NIH contact: John Satterlee, 301-435-1020

NIGMS’ Alexandra Ainsztein is a member of the NIH working group for this program and can answer questions about it by e-mail or phone (301-594-0828).

NIH Director’s Pioneer and New Innovator Awards

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements from the NIH Common Fund:

2013 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Program (DP1)
(RFA-RM-12-015)

Purpose: Support exceptionally creative individual scientists who propose pioneering, and possibly transforming, approaches to major challenges that have the potential for unusually high impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research
Application due date: October 9, 2012
NIH contact: Ravi Basavappa, 301-594-8190

2013 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award Program (DP2)
(RFA-RM-12-016)

Purpose: Support exceptionally creative early stage investigators who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential for major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research
Application due date: October 17, 2012
NIH contact: Ravi Basavappa, 301-594-8190

Search for NIGMS Director Resumes

The search for the next director of NIGMS has officially restarted. If you want to play a leading role in shaping the future of biomedical research, see the just-issued vacancy announcement for details on how to apply. If you know of others who might be interested in this position, please share this information with them.

The NIGMS director is the Institute’s “chief visionary,” setting goals, priorities and policies. He or she oversees a budget of $2.4 billion, which funds basic research in cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, biomedical technology, bioinformatics, computational biology, and selected behavioral and clinical areas. NIGMS also supports a significant amount of research training and has programs designed to develop and increase the diversity of the biomedical and behavioral research workforce.

To learn more about the Institute’s values and goals, see its strategic plan and its strategic plan for training.

Former NIGMS directors have had distinguished records of research, leadership, management and outreach/communication.

The search committee, which I co-chair with National Human Genome Research Institute Director Eric Green, will begin reviewing applications in the early fall.

Instrument Development, Institutional Research and Academic Career Development, Xenopus Analysis

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:

Instrument Development for Biomedical Applications (R21)
(RFA-GM-13-010)

Purpose: Solicit innovative applications for the development of new or improved instrumentation for biomedical research
Application due date: October 30, 2012
NIGMS contact: Fred Friedman, 301-435-0775

Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) (K12)
(PAR-12-245)

Purpose: Develop a diverse group of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists through support of a traditional mentored postdoctoral research experience at a research-intensive institution combined with an opportunity to develop academic skills, including teaching, through workshops and mentored teaching assignments at a partner institution
Application due date: September 24, 2012
NIGMS contact: Shiva Singh, 301-594-3900

Genetic and Genomic Analysis of Xenopus (R01)
(PAR-12-250)

Purpose: Exploit and enhance the power of Xenopus as a vertebrate model for biomedical research
Letter of intent due date: 30 days before application due date
Application due dates: October 1, 2012; September 30, 2013; September 30, 2014
NIGMS contact: Susan Haynes, 301-594-0943