As I wrote in a previous post on the Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN), we have been transitioning our support of pharmacogenomics research from set-aside funding to regular competition with other scientific areas. This is part of the Institute’s efforts to bolster support for investigator-initiated research. We’ll now fund pharmacogenomics research primarily through regular research grant mechanisms, such as R01s or well-justified P01s.
To learn more about how pharmacogenomics-related applications fare in review, our Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation conducted an analysis of NIH-wide pharmacogenomics-related applications assigned to Center for Scientific Review study sections. The analysis showed that these applications have comparable success in the review and award processes as applications in other scientific fields. Even so, I still recommend that applicants include a cover letter describing the kinds of expertise they believe are needed for an appropriate review. This can be particularly beneficial for a multidisciplinary research area like pharmacogenomics.
Our transition plans, which are now well under way, included making a limited number of awards in response to funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). After funding the selected centers that were considered at our recent Advisory Council meeting, we will discontinue the FOA for Research Centers for Pharmacogenomics in Precision Medicine (P50); no applications will be accepted for the 2015 and 2016 due dates. We encourage investigators to consider all investigator-initiated funding opportunities at NIH to support their research activities.
The evolution of the PGRN network will create opportunities for additional researchers to become part of this community of investigators and take advantage of its resources and projects. Beginning in mid-July, any investigator with an interest in pharmacogenomics and precision medicine will be able to join the network through the PGRN Web site and help contribute to the NIH goal of “turning discovery into health.”