Early Career Investigators to Join Advisory Council Deliberations

Beginning at this month’s meeting of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council, some of the ad hoc Council members will be early career investigators. We expect to benefit from their ideas and insights, and we also hope that they will get a better understanding of the workings of Council and share what they learn with peers.

As most of you know, the Advisory Council provides the second level of review required before any grant can be funded. The Council also advises the Institute on policy and scientific matters. Regular Council members are appointed by the HHS Secretary, but for most meetings, we invite ad hoc consultants to expand the Council’s breadth of expertise. Both regular and ad hoc members are typically at fairly senior career levels—often full professors or deans. We think there is value in inviting one or two early career investigators to each Council meeting as ad hocs to provide a greater diversity of views.

We’ve identified a perfect pool to draw from: the Early Career Reviewers who have participated in a study section for NIH’s Center for Scientific Review. If you are interested in applying to this CSR program, see How to Apply.

3 comments on “Early Career Investigators to Join Advisory Council Deliberations

  1. Dear Judith,

    This is a really terrific idea: I believe that these young folks are NIH’s greatest asset.

    I was wondering how many Early Career Investigators there are in all and how many participate in Review? Are the ECIs even distributed between the different Institutes?

    All best, Michael

    • In Fiscal Year 2014, the last year for which we have complete data, NIH awarded new (Type 1) R01-equivalent grants to 774 early stage investigators (ESIs), 2,496 established investigators and 454 new, but not ESI, investigators. By comparison, NIGMS awarded new (Type 1) R01-equivalent grants to 102 ESIs, 280 established investigators and 69 new, but not ESI, investigators. We don’t have data about the distribution of awards among different institutes.

      For NIH-wide trends in success rates for new investigators, which include ESIs as well as other first-time awardees, see the New NIH Investigators section (under NIH-Funded Research Workforce) in the NIH Data Book. We’re in the process of analyzing the success rates of NIGMS ESIs and will post the Fiscal Year 2015 data when it’s available (most likely this winter). Preliminary results indicate that, for NIGMS, ESIs have a better success rate than established investigators submitting new (Type 1) applications.

      It’s difficult to figure out how many ESIs participate in review because they are recruited as reviewers for CSR and institute and center study sections through a variety of means. Since the program began in August 2011, 1,270 individuals (such as the investigators who participated in our Advisory Council meeting) have served as part of the Center for Scientific Review’s Early Career Reviewer program.

  2. I am impressed that the number is so large, approaching a thousand. Given the lack of young R01 Grantees, these ESI are really important. Knowing their median age how many go on to get R01 grants would help confirm that ESI are really replenishing the declining numbers of young R01 grantees.

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