Tag: MIRA

Intent to Reissue MIRA Funding Opportunity Announcement for Early Stage Investigators (R35)

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I’m pleased to announce that the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for early stage investigators (ESIs) will be reissued in the spring of 2023. MIRA provides support for a research program in an ESI’s laboratory that falls within the NIGMS mission. For details, see NOT-GM-23-017

The reissued FOA will essentially be the same as the previous one, with a couple of minor changes:

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Webinar for the NIGMS Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) Program

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UPDATE: The slides [PDF] and video from this webinar are now available.

I’m pleased to announce that the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for established and new investigators (PAR-22-180) has been reissued. MIRA provides support for the program of research in an investigator’s laboratory that falls within the NIGMS mission. The next application due date is January 17, 2023.

We’re hosting a webinar to discuss the key features of this FOA and to answer your questions:

Friday, October 21, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET
Zoom meeting link
Meeting ID: 160 903 8368
Passcode: NIGMS

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Application, Review, Funding, and Demographic Trends for Maximizing Investigators’ Research Awards (MIRA): FYs 2019-2021

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In this Feedback Loop post, we revisit our previous analysis of application, review, funding, and demographic trends for the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program over Fiscal Years (FYs) 2019 to 2021. We look at trends for applicants by race/ethnicity and by gender. Due to privacy requirements and small numbers, applicants from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in biomedical research (Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander) are combined into a larger group that can be reported. Because of the small applicant numbers, we’re unable to show intersectional analyses of race/ethnicity and gender or analyses of applicants with disabilities. 

Table 1 shows the number of new awards made and associated award rates by fiscal year for Established Investigators (EIs) and Early Stage Investigators (ESIs).

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NIGMS Continues and Expands Its MIRA Program

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We’ve issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) (PAR 22-180) to provide sustained support for biomedical research through our Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program. This FOA allows applications from eligible NIGMS-funded investigators and from New Investigators proposing research within the scientific mission of NIGMS. The FOA also allows renewal applications from all eligible MIRA grantees (established and ex-Early Stage Investigators). Program directors (PDs)/principal investigators (PIs) who are currently Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) should apply through the ESI MIRA FOA and not to this announcement.

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Application and Funding Trends in Fiscal Year 2021

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NIGMS maintains a diverse biomedical research portfolio, supporting a wide range of topics and investigators. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, NIGMS received a congressional appropriation of $2,991,417,000. As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, this budget increased by 3.4% to $3,092,373,000 for FY 2022. The majority of these funds support research project grants (RPGs) at research institutions throughout the country. In alignment with its commitment to transparency, NIGMS publishes data on annual trends in its grants portfolio. In this post, we first describe investigator-level trends for RPGs, then review the trends associated with competing RPGs, and lastly examine trends in the Institute’s Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program.

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Do MIRA Investigators Apply for More Grants From Other NIH Institutes and Centers Than R01 Investigators?

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NIGMS’ Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) provides investigators with flexibility and stability for their research programs. Investigators who receive MIRA support must dedicate 51% of their research effort toward the grant and are ineligible to apply for or receive other NIGMS research support (with some exceptions). One question frequently asked is whether the NIGMS funding restriction changes the likelihood that MIRA grantees will submit applications to other NIH institutes and centers (ICs). In this post, we compare data on post-award grant applications from NIGMS-funded investigators.

To compare application behavior between MIRA and R01-funded investigators, we created sets of both established (EI) and early stage (ESI) investigators supported by NIGMS R01s (called the comparator group) who have not received a MIRA. The EI comparators were matched according to race/ethnicity, gender, time since acquisition of first R01, and average annual NIGMS funding. For the ESI comparator group, we used all ESI NIGMS R01 awardees.

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MIRA Renewals: Award Rates and Budget Changes

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NIGMS funded its first round of renewals for the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. In this post, we compare data on the award rates and award sizes of MIRA renewals and R01 renewals to provide some insights into the early outcomes of MIRA renewals. We also examine award rates and budget changes for investigators applying to convert their NIGMS R01s to MIRAs.

In the first section, we present award rates (the percentage of reviewed applications that receive funding), considering both programs overall and then FY 2021 renewal applications specifically. The second section describes the award sizes for the two types of grants collectively, followed by award size changes for FY 2021 renewals. Where sample sizes and privacy concerns allow, we distinguish between established investigators (EIs) and early stage investigators (ESIs) renewing their first grants (“ex-ESIs”) as they often have different characteristics for award rates and sizes. All budget values shown in the post are yearly direct costs.

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Application and Funding Trends in Fiscal Year 2020

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On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, was signed into law. The appropriation provides NIGMS with a budget of $2,991,417,000, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, a 1.8% increase over the FY 2020 appropriation. With this increased budget, NIGMS is committed to providing taxpayers with the best possible returns on their investments in fundamental biomedical research. As part of this commitment to stewardship, we regularly monitor trends in our funding portfolio.

NIGMS maintains a diversified biomedical research portfolio, supporting a wide range of topics and investigators. NIGMS and NIH programs and policies aim to increase the number of funded investigators and to maintain researchers’ funding stability over time. In this post, we describe NIGMS investigator-level trends for selected R01-equivalent grants as well as overall research project grant (RPG) trends for FY 2020 compared to previous fiscal years.

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Webinar and Other Resources for New MIRA ESI Funding Opportunity

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UPDATE: The video and slides [PDF] from the MIRA webinar are now available.

We recently reissued the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators (PAR-20-117). The first application due date is October 2, 2020.

We’re hosting a webinar to discuss this FOA and to answer your questions about the program on Thursday, August 6, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET. To access the webinar, visit the WebEx meeting page (link no longer available). We plan to post the archived webinar and slides on the MIRA webpage after the event.

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Funding Trends: MIRA Applications and Overall Impact Scores

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One of the most common questions we receive about the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program is the likelihood of an application’s funding given a certain overall impact score.

Frequent readers of this blog may note that we typically provide statistics as they relate to our R01 portfolio, but we’ve yet to provide a similar “funding curve” for the MIRA program. One reason that MIRA applications haven’t been included in these analyses is that, unlike most R01 applications, MIRA R35 applications don’t receive a percentile score. The percentile score allows for normalization of overall impact scores across study sections to account for any differences in scoring behavior that are observed in review panels. See the Office of Extramural Research’s comprehensive blog post for more information about overall impact scores and percentiles.

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