Category: Director’s Messages

Reflecting on Our Strategic Priorities

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In my first post as NIGMS director in 2013, I discussed the need to develop a new strategic plan to guide our efforts and to ensure that we invest taxpayer money as efficiently and effectively as possible. Our current strategic plan emerged as a product of collaboration between all functional units of our Institute, with valuable input from external stakeholders, and it’s been used to guide management decisions at NIGMS for the last 5 years.

Since publication of this strategic plan in 2015, the Institute has undertaken programmatic and organizational changes to better achieve the goals set forth in the plan. I therefore wanted to reflect on these activities as we consider our priorities for the next 5 years.

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New Webinar Series for the NIGMS Training Community

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We’re pleased to announce a new webinar series for students, postdocs, and faculty. Each hour-long webinar will include a 10- to 15-minute presentation by the speaker followed by a moderated question and answer session. Our hope is that these webinars will enhance our trainees’ ongoing learning experiences. 

The webinar series kicks off next Monday, May 4, and a tentative list of dates and speakers is below. As plans are finalized, additional details will be posted on our website.

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New NIGMS Web Resource on Safety in the Lab and Other Training Environments

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The safety of trainees and other lab workers from accidents, violence, harassment, and inappropriate behavior is a high priority for NIGMS. Because the Institute has such a large training and workforce development portfolio, we feel that we should play a central role in promoting the development of a robust culture of safety in biomedical research training environments.

As part of this effort, we recently announced the availability of supplements for research education, training, and career development grants to enhance laboratory safety curricula and to build a culture of safety in biomedical research training environments (NOT-GM-20-016). To provide additional resources to enhance safety, we have now launched an NIGMS website highlighting laboratory safety training and guidelines. On this page, you’ll find links to a number of online resources including:

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NIGMS Virtual Learning Resources for Scientists at All Career Stages

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To assist with virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’d like to remind you of the valuable resources NIGMS supports for our trainee and educator communities. These resources apply to all levels, ranging from community college students to faculty.

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Application and Funding Trends in Fiscal Year 2019

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On December 20, 2019, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 Link to external web site, was signed into law. The appropriation provides NIGMS with a budget of $2,937,218,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, a 2.2% increase over the FY 2019 appropriation. With this increased budget, NIGMS is committed to providing taxpayers with the best possible returns on their investments in fundamental biomedical research [PDF]. As part of this commitment to stewardship [PDF], we regularly monitor trends in our funding portfolio.

NIGMS maintains a diversified investment portfolio, supporting a wide range of research topics and investigators. Recent NIGMS and NIH programs and policies aim to increase the number of different investigators funded, and to maintain researchers’ funding stability over time. Consistent with our focus on supporting a broad group of investigators, we monitor two statistics that describe our investigator pool.

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Erica Brown Named Associate Director for Extramural Activities

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Headshot of Dr. Erica Brown.

I’m pleased to announce that Erica Brown has been named NIGMS associate director for extramural activities and director of our Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). In this role, Erica oversees the receipt, referral, review, and fiscal management of the Institute’s grants. Additionally, she serves as executive secretary of our advisory council and advises senior staff on the planning, development, and administration of Institute grant activities.

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Susan Gregurick to Lead Data Science Activities at NIH

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Headshot of Susan Gregurick.

It’s with profoundly mixed emotions that I tell you that Susan Gregurick has been named the NIH associate director for data science and director of the Office of Data Science Strategy. This new position will allow her to play a key role in shaping data science activities across NIH.

Susan has provided extraordinary leadership to our Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences (BBCB) for the past 6 years and has been an essential member of the Institute’s senior staff. I’m confident that she’ll bring the same level of enthusiasm, professionalism, judgment, and keen intellect to her new office as she did here at NIGMS. The appointment becomes official on September 15, although Susan will remain here at NIGMS through the end of the month. Deputy Director Judith Greenberg will serve as acting director of BBCB while we search for a permanent replacement.

For more on this appointment, see the statement from NIH Director Francis Collins. Please join me in wishing Susan the best in the next phase of her career. NIGMS’ loss is certainly NIH’s gain!

NIGMS Grantees Receive Top U.S. Award in Science and Engineering

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I’m pleased to congratulate four members of the NIGMS community who are among the recipients of the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers Link to external web site. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.

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NIGMS Statement in Support of Diverse and Inclusive Meetings and Conferences

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On June 12, NIH Director Francis Collins announced that he will not take part in conferences or meetings in which “attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda.” In keeping with this announcement, all NIGMS staff, including leadership, program and scientific review officers, grants management specialists, and others, will only attend meetings and conferences where the organizers have shown a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in their selection of chairs, speakers, and panelists. NIGMS has a long-standing mission to promote diversity in the scientific enterprise. Helping to ensure that the organizers of scientific conferences and meetings plan diverse and inclusive agendas will further our goal of developing the most creative, vibrant, and productive biomedical research workforce possible.

Application and Funding Trends in Fiscal Year 2018

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On September 28, 2018, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 Link to external web site was signed into law. The law includes an NIGMS budget of $2,872,780,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019—a 3.1% increase from FY 2018. This budget increase follows a 5.1% rise in funding in FY 2018.

NIGMS is committed to ensuring that taxpayers get the best possible returns on their investments in fundamental biomedical research [PDF, 702KB] . As part of this commitment to stewardship [PDF, 7.89MB], we regularly monitor trends in our funding portfolio.

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