Information on NIH Policy Changes

On May 2, the NIH announced an impending change in policy that intends to cap grant support at the level of 3 R01 equivalents. The UNC School of Medicine Office of Research has compiled information on these changes and opportunities for faculty feedback.

On May 2, the NIH announced an impending change in policy that intends to cap grant support at the level of 3 R01 equivalents.  The proposed change is in response to the following trends:

1) increasing funding challenges for junior and mid-career investigators, including a recent marked decline in the share of awards to mid-career scientists

2) data that suggest faculty with multiple R01 grants are relatively less productive with each new grant beyond the first

3) the limited number of investigators who receive a disproportionate amount of the NIH’s funding (i.e. 10 percent of investigators receive 40 percent of the total funding).

The Grant Support Index (GSI) would attribute 7 points for each R01 regardless of effort and funding amount.  When submitting new or competitive proposals, Investigators with a GSI of greater than 21 will be required to submit a plan to recalibrate their effort if awarded. The GSI is similar to the Research Commitment Index (RCI) tool that was described in January 2017. The calibration of the GSI is still under development, with details such as how different grant mechanisms and multi-PI awards will be assigned, as areas of active discussion.

The cap is expected to impact 6% of investigators and result in the distribution of  ~1600 new awards with the intent of broadening the pool of funded investigators and increasing productivity.

NIH will be soliciting feedback from the scientific community in the coming months and will be discussing at upcoming advisory council meetings.  For now, if you have comments or feedback, they can be provided on the Open Mike Blog, which is hosted by Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research. 

More posts on the policy and opportunities for providing input are expected on the blog, so stay tuned.

- Jennifer Brennan, PhD, Director, UNC School of Medicine Office of Research

 

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