NIH-Funding

What Can We Learn from the Early Outcomes from the NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards?

Rock Talk: NIH Extramural News - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:51

In earlier posts, like this one, we discussed the importance of moving towards “evidence-based funding.”. NIH seeks to apply data-driven strategies to conceptualize, develop, implement, and evaluate policies, such as those that will affect the NIH-supported biomedical research workforce. Today, we’d like to spotlight a recently published analysis of an award program directed to investigators early in their careers – a population that has received much attention at NIH and beyond in recent years.

For a decade, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award has sought to support exceptionally creative and innovative early career investigators across the country. To receive an award, applicants must be an early-stage investigator and must not have received a substantial NIH award. No preliminary data are required in the application. As only one component of a wider high-risk, high-reward portfolio, projects supported through this program are meant to be unusually bold and innovative, with the potential for broad impact across biomedicine. But are they?

Since the first three cohorts of awardees recently completed their awards, our colleagues in the NIH Director’s Common Fund, who administer the program, commissioned the Science and Technology Policy Institute to conduct an independent evaluation of early trends related to effectiveness of the program. Namely, did this approach foster higher-risk, higher-reward research compared to the traditional R01 grant? And of interest to our group, did award recipients experience challenges moving forward in their career because they pursued riskier research studies early on, compared to their other early-stage investigator peers?

Multiple characteristics were considered when assessing research Innovativeness. Senior experts rated a study’s application and/or formation of novel, cutting-edge, combinatorial ideas, approaches, techniques, and methodologies; discovery of new phenomena; synthesis of disparate ideas; departure from prevailing wisdom; ability to advance a theoretical concept; and rigorousness.

to cut to the chase…

Our colleagues found that, for the first three years of awardees, the New Innovator program does indeed support research that is more innovative, risky, and impactful than that typically supported by R01s—the standard bearer NIH grant. Further, with most measures used to assess an investigator’s performance (e.g. professional advancement, obtaining new funding, and publications), this award did not significantly impact, either positively or negatively, the careers of the awardees as compared to other early-stage investigator R01 awardees.

Figure 1 highlights how senior experts in the field assessed the innovativeness of the research from New Innovator (black) and their early-stage R01 recipient peers (gray)—using a numeric scale of “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree.” Overall, the New Innovator awardees rated higher, compared to their peers, on topics such as revolutionizing their field, accessing multiple disciplines, as well as using novel tools, experiments, approaches, and theoretical ideas. Early-stage investigators were rated more favorably on research rigor, likely due in part to the incremental nature of R01 supported research compared to the riskier science supported by this Common Fund program.

According to their data, New Innovator awardees tended to apply for Type 1 (meaning de novo) grants and published in journals, with their articles having higher Relative Citation Ratios, compared to their related awardee contemporaries. Let’s take a moment to look at the Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) data— a metric that uses citation rates to measure the influence of a publication at the article level. Their analysis revealed that, with RCR data from over 3,000 publications published from 1995 to 2014, New Innovator awardees published articles with larger RCRs than other early-stage investigators who received an R01 (Figure 2). This suggests that’ New Innovator awardees publish articles that are likely highly influential in their fields.

New Innovator awardees were also equally successful in obtaining faculty positions and tenure as early-stage investigators supported by their first R01. Interestingly, since they tended to perceive their research as non-traditional and inconsistent with the NIH grant process, New Innovator Awardees felt they could be more successful obtaining funding from non- NIH sources.

…so, what does this mean for new researchers and the NIH-supported workforce?

Though limitations to this evaluation exist, such as only having a small cohort of awardees to study and that perceptions of the program likely changed over time, the data hints at that New Innovator awardees are not at a disadvantage just because they sought to pursue riskier research endeavors early in their careers. That said, we still need additional information and time to assess the true impact of this award on the long-term stability of their career paths and the wider workforce in general.

This New Innovator program provides one way that NIH is assisting early stage researchers towards a pathway of sustained and successful research careers. Though geared towards higher-risk studies, it was encouraging to see that these early stage scientists are productive and continue to pursue successful research careers.

We remain dedicated to helping this population of early-stage investigators and appreciate your feedback, both qualitative and quantitative, to help guide our workforce policymaking decisions. It is encouraging to see what novel insights into public health these, and our entire grantee pool, will uncover as they progress through their professional careers.

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: Donald Perry

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 02:31

I am an established investigator and just received an impact score of 30 (11 percentile) for a new R01. The NIEHS (primary institute has a payline of 10 for 2017, could be the same in 2018. My grant is dual assigned to NCI and NHLBI. NCI (I heard may fund up to 12 percentile) and NHLBI funds up to 15 percentile. How likely is it that the NIEHS may fund (slightly above payline). If not, cam it get funded by NCI or NHLBI. Do you know how secondary institutes could pick up applications? Please advise

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: Donald Perry

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 02:30

I am an established investigator and just received an impact score of 30 (11 percentile). The NIEHS (primary institute has a payline for 2017, could be the same in 2018. My grant is dual assigned to NCI and NHLBI. NCI (I heard may fund up to 12 percentile) and NHLBI funds up to 15 percentile. How likely is it that the NIEHS may fund (slightly above payline). If not, cam it get funded by NCI or NHLBI. Do you know how secondary institutes could pick up applications? Please advise.

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: writedit

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 15:16

You might ask the Foundation if they can be flexible and fund you to do a piece of the work not proposed in the R01 — something you would have liked to have done but couldn’t work it in the R01 budget or time frame. Most Foundations can be flexible in what they fund, since they are usually more focused on the concept and end goal vs specific science, whereas the NIH IC can only fund what was peer reviewed (so you can’t ask them to fund a new/different aim in place of what the Foundation covers). Alternatively, you could do preliminary work toward a shared aim in both proposals on the Foundation’s dime – and then if need be use these data to get the resubmitted R01, in case the 24th percentile isn’t funded (though you should be in good shape). Both the Foundation and the NIH should be happy to see you leverage each other’s support, so long as you are not getting paid twice for the same work. If the Foundation can’t be flexible, then you could accept their award to fund your first aim (or whatever their award would cover), and then your NIH award would be reduced by this amount, unless you can negotiate to do additional work (e.g., number of repetitions/replicates, larger sample, etc.) that falls under the science that was reviewed by the SRG. Hard to get specific, but you could start with the Foundation.

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: LNS

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 14:33

Ok, thank you!

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: SaG

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 14:07

It depends on where you ranked among the other apps reviewed. I would imagine that it also depends on the PQ you asked. If several other apps picked the same PQ and score better than you your odds of funding are probably low. If you were the only one to address a specific PQ Program might want to fund it. You will ask to ask your PO.

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: R01 vs foundation

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 14:03

We submitted an R01 (as an ESI), and shortened the application substantially and submitted it for a small foundation grant as well, hoping we’d get one at least. Ended up getting the foundation grant and the R01 scored 24 percentile, with prior year paylines at 25. We’d like to accept the foundation grant, even though it’s not a lot of money, since it starts much earlier than the R01 would get awarded (if it does). We’re wondering if accepting the foundation award will affect the chances of getting funded on the R01 given the overlapping aims and our borderline score, as we’d have to list it as awarded or pending on any future JIT request? And thanks for running this comment board. It’s been really helpful!

Categories: NIH-Funding

Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01) - (Clinical Trials Not Allowed)

NIH Funding Announcements - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 11:39
Funding Opportunity RFA-HL-18-026 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications to enhance the pool of of highly trained investigators from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in research. It is targeted toward individuals whose basic, clinical, and translational research interests are grounded in the advanced methods and experimental approaches needed to solve problems related to cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases and sleep disorders in the general and health disparities populations. This FOA invites applications from Institutions with eligible faculty members to undertake special study and supervised research under a mentor who is an accomplished investigator in the research area proposed and has experience in developing independent investigators.
Categories: NIH-Funding

Research Grants Using the Resources from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) (R21) - Clinical Trial Not Allowed

NIH Funding Announcements - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 11:31
Funding Opportunity PA-18-408 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages applications for research awards that are focused on the use of the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) database, clinical data and images. This FOA seeks to expand the use of these resources by investigators in the broader research community. The publication of this FOA to the research community indicates to investigators and peer reviewers the importance that the NIAMS and others have placed on the use of the OAI resources.
Categories: NIH-Funding

Research Grants Using the Resources from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) (R01) - Clinical Trial Not Allowed

NIH Funding Announcements - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 11:31
Funding Opportunity PA-18-409 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages applications for research awards that are focused on the use of the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) database, clinical data and images. This FOA seeks to expand the use of these resources by investigators in the broader research community. The publication of this FOA to the research community indicates to investigators and peer reviewers the importance that the NIAMS and others have placed on the use of the OAI resources.
Categories: NIH-Funding

Notice of NIDCR's participation on PAR-17-464 "Research to Improve Native American Health (R21 Clinical Trials Optional)"

NIH Funding Announcements - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 11:11
Notice NOT-DE-18-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Categories: NIH-Funding

By: LNS

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 10:48

We submitted a “Revision Application” to supplement a current NCI-funded R01 to specifically address NCI’s provocative questions. I am unfamiliar with this mechanism. We received a 37 (no percentile). Normally, I would assume this is not fundable, but I have no frame of reference for this type of funding. Do you have any insight? Thank you!

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: writedit

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 22:43

There are no breaks during the review process or award decisions (eg, review & payline is the same for all applicants). Specific R03 PARs are limited to K awardees in certain ICs, so those R03s get special consideration, but otherwise, no. The goal is to get new investigators to put their time and energy into R01 applications, which do have review and payline breaks plus bigger budgets and the potential for renewal (and are hence the platform on which to establish an independent research career, not an R21 or R03).

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: Question

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 19:12

Is early investigator status noted or relevant for R21 and R03 grants? That is, do early investigators get a boost for R21/R03 grants, or just R01s? Thanks for your help.

Categories: NIH-Funding

By: SkinDoc

WriteEdit-Grant Questions Blog - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 16:02

We’re investigating blood vessel-nerve interactions in hypertensives so it went to NHLBI and CICS…my other R01s have gone to NIAMS but haven’t had any luck there even getting scored.

Categories: NIH-Funding

NIH Plans for Clinical Trial Specific Parent R01 and Parent R21 Funding Opportunity Announcements

NIH Funding Announcements - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 13:48
Notice NOT-OD-18-010 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Categories: NIH-Funding