NIGMS has made MIRA awards to Established Investigators (EI) and Early-Stage Investigators (ESI) for three full Fiscal Years (FY). In this Feedback Loop post, we provide an analysis of application, review, funding, and demographic trends for the MIRA program.
For the first two rounds of EI MIRAs, eligibility was limited to well-funded NIGMS investigators: PIs with two or more NIGMS R01-equivalent awards or one NIGMS R01-equivalent award for >$400,000 in direct costs. For the FY 2018 EI competition and beyond, eligibility was expanded to include any investigator with a single PD/PI NIGMS R01-equivalent that is up for renewal. For the FY 2016 ESI MIRA competition, ESIs and New Investigators (NI) at the assistant professor or equivalent level were eligible, whereas eligibility was restricted to ESIs in subsequent rounds. As always, a PI can apply for an extension of ESI status for various life and career events, including childbirth.
I am pleased to announce the availability of the new NIGMS strategic plan. This document outlines many of the priorities and activities that the Institute will pursue over the next 5 years. It’s designed as a framework to both codify and focus our efforts, while still allowing us the flexibility to pursue untapped opportunities in areas relevant to our mission.
The plan, which incorporates valuable input from the scientific community, highlights the goals and objectives listed below. It also contains specific implementation strategies for each objective.
- Maximize investments in investigator-initiated biomedical research to drive fundamental scientific discoveries that advance understanding of human health and disease.
- Invest in and sustain a broad and diverse portfolio of highly meritorious research.
- Promote the ability of investigators to pursue new research directions, novel scientific insights and innovative ideas.
- Support the development of a highly skilled, creative and diverse biomedical research workforce.
- Assess Institute research training and education programs and policies to ensure that they achieve positive outcomes related to the NIGMS mission.
- Promote the identification of best practices to continually improve the quality of research training activities.
- Support the development of and access to essential research tools, resources and capabilities for biomedical research.
- Support access to essential research resources and the development of new technologies that enable novel scientific advances.
- Continue the development of institutional research capacities and communities.
- Advance understanding of fundamental biomedical research and the NIGMS role in supporting it.
- Use a broad range of approaches to inform the public about NIGMS goals, activities and results.
- Continue to engage in an open dialogue with the scientific community and other stakeholders about NIGMS programs, processes and policies.
In addition, the plan includes a goal related to the optimization of Institute operations.
Finally, the plan reiterates our commitment to the stewardship of taxpayer funds and an atmosphere of open dialogue, collaboration and shared responsibility with the scientific community. In that spirit, we welcome suggestions to help us become as efficient and effective as possible in the pursuit of our mission.