Career development award pay lines are posted!
I have an early holiday present for those of you who’ve been waiting for this news: NIA’s FY 2019 pay lines for our career development program are 21 for our general allocation and 28 for our Alzheimer’s allocation. These numbers mean that we will pay most general allocation career award applications to the 21 score. We may require some applicants to resubmit within that line, and we may pay one or two beyond that line. The same holds true for the 28 score—for career award applications that focus on Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (AD/ADRD).
Now if any of you are still reading the blog after I disclosed the punch line in the first sentence (a truly serious case of bad story-telling strategy!), then I’ll explain what paying to these numbers means for NIA.
Allocation versus pay line
In the past, we’ve worked within a career award allocation that was based on the prior year’s budget, adjusted a little to match the change in our overall budget from year to year. As our Alzheimer’s allocation in the budget grew faster than our general allocation, we separated our general allocation from the Alzheimer’s allocation and paid awards in each line until the money ran out.
Yet our career development program is teeming with strong applications, and our pool of applications is growing by leaps and bounds. That is wonderful! On a personal note, before I was division director here, I was the training officer. From when I started in that role to today, the number of career award applications we receive has grown by a factor of four. In the last three years alone, the number has doubled.
That growth and the likely, and welcome, continuing growth has caused us to switch to a pay line strategy.
With that strategy, we make it a priority to find the money to reach the pay line. So, the allocation is variable while the pay line is constant. With a growing portfolio, it means that the allocation continues to grow to meet the demand.
The money needs to come from somewhere and will constitute a tax on our pay line for research grant applications. It is a very small tax though and reflects the priority that we are giving to career development!
The Next Generation Initiative
Our commitment to the career development line is part of NIA’s contribution to the broader NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative. We particularly need to build a strong and diverse research workforce to meet the challenge of preventing, delaying, or even alleviating the clinical decline and degeneration that Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias provoke in altogether too many of us.
Career development awards have been the springboard to research independence for many of our current research leaders. We hope and trust that our investment in this program will create a new generation of research leaders who can make even more vital progress against these dementias and contribute to advances in all the fields of aging.