Category: Requests for Information

NIGMS Supports UNITE, the Trans-NIH Initiative to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Biomedical Research

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UNITE logo. UNITE is an NIH initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in biomedical research.

On March 1, NIH Director Francis Collins announced UNITE, a new effort to end structural racism and racial inequities in the biomedical research enterprise. NIGMS fully supports this initiative and is actively reviewing our own policies, practices, procedures, and priorities. We’re also intensifying our current efforts to undo the impacts of structural racism and all other forms of structural bias and discrimination in the biomedical research enterprise. Upcoming NIGMS communications and activities will identify structural and cultural elements in biomedical research that are contributing to racism and what we’re currently doing and plan to do to address them. New initiatives include, but are not limited to:

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Request for Information: Screening for High Resolution Cryo-EM

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The NIH Common Fund’s Transformative High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) program is requesting input from the community in identifying challenges in screening samples for high resolution cryo-EM, an essential step required for data collection at the National Centers for Cryo-EM. We welcome responses from researchers interested in cryo-EM, including those who have not previously worked in the field.

For more details, see the Request for Information (RFI): Screening for High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy (NOT-RM-21-012). Please respond to the email address in the RFI by February 26.

Seeking Feedback on Our New Strategic Plan

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UPDATE: The deadline for responding to the request for information has been extended to July 31.

As I described in my last post, we recently released a progress and outcomes report [PDF] highlighting the work we’ve done to meet the goals and objectives of the NIGMS 2015-2020 strategic plan [PDF].

We’re now beginning development of a new strategic plan that will describe NIGMS’ overarching goals, strategic objectives, and implementation tactics in support of the Institute’s mission over the next 5 years.

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Request for Information: Biological Research Needs for High Spatial Resolution Imaging Supported by DOE and NIH

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NIGMS, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science seek input on approaches to apply high-resolution (sub-nanometer to micrometer) bioimaging technologies to samples ranging from atoms to cells. Input is requested on the specific needs of the biomedical research community to match existing technical approaches and instrumentation to significant biological questions, and on prioritizing the development of novel bioimaging technologies that might be in demand for potential biological and medical applications.

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Request for Information on Human Biospecimens for Research on Sepsis

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NIGMS wants to advance our understanding of sepsis in order to accelerate improved diagnosis and treatment strategies. Based on the recommendations of our National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council Working Group on Sepsis, we intend to continue our support of fundamental discovery and mechanistic science relevant to sepsis. We recently identified the Institute’s specific priorities for sepsis research in an NIH Guide notice (NOT-GM-19-054). Additionally, the Working Group recommended that NIGMS encourage the use of human clinical materials to facilitate more rapid progress toward better identification, staging, and endotyping of the disease.

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Your Perspectives: Strategies for Enhancing Postdoctoral Career Transitions to Promote Faculty Diversity

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Continuing our longstanding commitment to train the next generation of biomedical scientists and support the careers of students and postdoctoral scientists from diverse backgrounds, for example groups underrepresented in biomedical research, we sought input from the community through a request for information (RFI) on strategies to enhance successful postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity, specifically in research-intensive institutions. The RFI was open May 24 to July 20, 2018, and received a total of 89 unique responses from stakeholders including postdoctoral scientists, faculty members, and professional societies.

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Give Us Your Input on Strategies for Advancing Sepsis Research Supported by NIGMS

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Although NIGMS is not the only source of federal funding for sepsis research, the Institute supports a substantial portfolio of research that includes both fundamental and clinical studies, from the molecular to the organismal, that emphasizes the host’s response rather than causative factors such as infection or injury. In an effort to more rapidly move NIGMS’ sepsis research program and its translation forward, we’ve issued a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain feedback, comments, novel ideas, and strategies that address the challenges and opportunities in sepsis research to accelerate advances in detection of and treatment for this condition.

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Give Input on Strategies to Enhance Postdoctoral Career Transitions to Promote Faculty Diversity

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NIGMS has a longstanding commitment to train the next generation of biomedical scientists and support the training of students from diverse backgrounds, including groups underrepresented in biomedical research, through fellowships, career development grants, and institutional training and student development programs. These programs, and other efforts, have contributed to a substantial increase in the talent pool of well-trained biomedical Ph.D.s from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. However, increasing evidence shows that transitions of these talented scientists from postdoctoral training into independent faculty positions at research-intensive institutions is a key point at which they exit the NIH-funded research workforce. Similarly, women have earned a majority of biomedical Ph.D.s since 2008Link to external web site but approximately one-third of NIH-funded principal investigators are women.

We have undertaken a number of efforts to facilitate the career transitions of postdoctoral scientists from diverse groups into the professoriate including Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards and research supplements to promote diversity in health-related research and re-entry into biomedical research careers. Additionally, we administer the NIH Common Fund’s National Research Mentoring Network, a nationwide consortium of biomedical professionals and institutions collaborating to provide biomedical trainees from all backgrounds and at all levels with evidence-based mentorship and professional development programs. While these efforts have supported the development of highly-trained biomedical scientists who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue independent biomedical research careers, we need additional strategies to promote transitions to independent faculty positions at research-intensive institutions.

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Requesting Your Input on the Draft NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science

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UPDATE: NIH has released the Strategic Plan for Data Science. The plan was informed by community and public input, and NIH will continue to seek input as it implements the plan, many elements of which are well underway. By maximizing the value of data generated through NIH-funded efforts, the pace of biomedical discoveries and medical breakthroughs for better health outcomes can be substantially accelerated.

To capitalize on the opportunities presented by advances in data science, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is developing a Strategic Plan for Data Science. This plan describes NIH’s overarching goals, strategic objectives, and implementation tactics for promoting the modernization of the NIH-funded biomedical data science ecosystem. As part of the planning process, NIH has published a draft of the strategic plan [PDF 490KB], along with a Request for Information to seek input from stakeholders, including members of the scientific community, academic institutions, the private sector, health professionals, professional societies, advocacy groups, patient communities, as well as other interested members of the public.

As co-chair of the NIH Scientific Data Council, which is overseeing development of the Strategic Plan for Data Science, I encourage your comments and suggestions. Responses should be submitted via an online form by April 2, 2018.

Give Input on the Organization and Administration of NIGMS Undergraduate and Predoctoral Diversity Programs

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NIGMS has a longstanding commitment to training the next generation of biomedical scientists and supports training of students from underrepresented (UR) groups through a variety of institutional training and student development programs including Bridges to the Baccalaureate, Bridges to the Doctorate, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, and the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program. The goal of these programs is to increase the number of students from UR groups who matriculate in and complete Ph.D. degree programs in the biomedical sciences and become leaders in the U.S. research enterprise.

We are seeking input from the biomedical research community, including students, undergraduate faculty, graduate faculty, scientific societies, and academic institutions, as well as from the public, through a Request for Information (RFI) on the organization and administration of NIGMS undergraduate and predoctoral diversity programs.

Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • The potential challenges and opportunities created by changing NIGMS R25 programs to NRSA training (T) grant activity codes, and strategies for overcoming any potential challenges
  • The potential advantages or disadvantages of having a single, unified NIGMS-funded undergraduate or predoctoral diversity program vs. multiple NIGMS-funded diversity programs at a given institution
  • Strategies for building effective intra- and inter-institutional networks that minimize unnecessary duplication, leverage existing resources and create synergies to more efficiently and effectively promote the development of a well-trained and diverse biomedical research workforce
  • Any other comments or recommendations regarding NIGMS programs that support the training of students from UR groups

Responses can be submitted via an online form Link to external website and can be anonymous. The due date for providing input is October 31, 2017.