Posted on July 17, 2013 by Rebecca Ferrell, Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities.
Scientific Review Officers like me often hear from reviewers about things that applicants have or haven’t done in their grant applications, and how those applications fare in peer review. Many of the issues are related to grantsmanship: writing a neat, tidy, clear and complete grant application that a reviewer will pay attention to despite having read umpteen other applications in the previous 48 hours. Others are more substantive issues with the science. I would like to share some of the main issues we hear about, starting in this post with human research protections. Read More
Maybe you are a graduate student, a postdoc, or a new junior faculty member. You have carefully crafted a fellowship application or a career development application. Now, you sit on pins and needles hoping to hear that reviewers love what you propose and that the NIA will make an award. But wait! I wish that happy conjunction (reviewers love it, the NIA funds it) were always true. But in these times, it can happen that reviewers love it, but the NIA does not have the money to fund it. For fellowship and career development awards the unhappy conjunction (too much reviewer love for the money) also makes funding decisions particularly tricky. Read More
The NIA views support for research career development and pre and postdoctoral fellowship training as a priority. The availability of funds to support career development (K) and fellowship training (F, T, and NRSA) awards is critical to the advancement of the next cadre of scientists conducting research on aging and age-related disorders. This year’s sequester budget cut provided us with a real dilemma: do we fund fewer new awards or do we cut the funding of researchers with non-competing awards in their out year? Read More
Recently an NIA-funded study on the economic costs of caring for people with dementia was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study drew a lot of attention, and I want to tell you a little more about it. I am the program officer for this grant. As the lead federal agency for Alzheimer’s research, the NIA takes a broad interest in characterizing the societal effects of this disease. This study is the first peer reviewed, national estimate of the economic costs of dementia care. Read More
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... --Charles Dickens. These words sum up the state of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, specifically therapy development, over the last few years. On the one hand, the budget climate and dismal therapeutic results cloud the future. On the other hand, there are tremendous opportunities presented by the U.S. National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and by the emergence of systems and precision medicine. These could transform AD research and drug development. Read More
Posted on June 5, 2013 by Rebecca Ferrell, Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities.
You’ve traveled overnight between back-to-back meetings, rushed from the airport to a hotel in Bethesda, and dragged your bags and yourself to a stale ballroom just in time to review tons of grant applications in a single day. You open the door and breathe a sigh of relief when you see the welcoming scene of your smiling Scientific Review Officer (SRO), your colleagues, and of course light refreshments– [sound of record screeching to a halt] Read More
Our fiscal year 2013 budget was finalized March 26, but we were unable to post our funding policy until May 8. This year, as in every other year, my team worked hard to get a funding policy published absolutely as fast as we could once we knew our budget. In previous years, we have been able to publish our funding policy more quickly. Why the delay this year? Read More
Buried within our NIA 2013 funding policy is the apparently shocking statement that our payline for NIA-reviewed research grant applications is 13. When the top score is 10 and the lowest possible score is 90, then a 13 is little short of perfect. We worry about this too. We know that we are leaving some truly outstanding work unpaid. How did this happen? Read More
I’m excited to announce something new for researchers. Inside NIA, our new blog, begins with this post. If you are a grantee, applicant, trainee, or anyone else in the scientific and advocacy communities please read and share it. Comment freely when an issue grabs you. Let it be your blog, too. Read More