DEA

If it’s September, it must be Council! It’s that time again! The public session of NIA’s National Advisory Council on Aging is taking place tomorrow starting at 8:00 a.m., Eastern time. The meeting agenda and materials are available online. You can watch the archived videocast here: https://videocast.nih.gov/ in a few days. Read the full blog post.

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We have pay line updates! The big news is that the final career development awards pay line for the year is the 20th percentile. Of equal interest is the fact that we’re increasing our general allocation research grant pay line to the 11th percentile. We also have news on fellowships and small business awards.

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This month, NIA is celebrating our second annual Go4Life Month. As part of that celebration, we’re reaching out to our Go4Life® partners and the research community to help us find ways to encourage older people to exercise and lead healthy, active lives. This year’s theme is “Fit4Function.” So what is Fit4Function all about, anyway?

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So you thought your science was already rigorous and reproducible…

Last fall, NIH released new guidelines for implementing rigor and transparency in research project grants. Applications for research grants and mentored career development awards submitted in 2016 must include information on scientific rigor and reproducibility. What’s going on?

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A few months ago, NIA decided to follow the practice of two other NIH institutes and arrange two-stage review of program projects. We have recently completed the first review cycle under this new review model. We launched this two-stage effort because of concern that the separate small committee reviews which each handled one program project lacked the context for scoring that is available to the customarily larger panels who review a substantial set of research grant applications in one meeting.

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We have bumped the NIA general allocation up by one point all around. For most research grants—at least the ones under $500k a year—that pay line is now the 10th percentile. We are paying new investigator R01 applications to the 18th percentile and early-stage investigators can now breathe comfortably with the knowledge that their R01 applications are being paid to the princely 20th percentile!

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We are now paying career award applications to a score of 15. I know this will bring cold comfort to too many of you. And, the shock of learning that we are paying those career award applications with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease to a score above 30 leaves a sharp sting for those whose worthy aims do not address that priority.

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You have a burning idea about aging. Now you need the funding for it. What do you do? Or, you once sent an application through the inscrutable machinery of grants.gov. You even retrieved reviews after an eternity of waiting. And now, apart from burying the reviews in several feet of dirt where they will be of most use, you have no idea what your next move is. We may have the answer for you.

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California, here we come! No, we’re not participating in a gold rush, we’re going to the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) next week in Long Beach. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. We also hope that you’ll take the opportunity to connect with NIA staff at the meeting, during scientific sessions and at the Exhibit Hall.

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About half of the 22 NIH Institutes no longer post a funding line. Of course, we at NIA do so much better—we post multiple funding lines! We are transparent, though. I’ve heard it said around the halls of NIH that a funding line is a crutch for staff, an easy way to indicate to investigators that their application could not be paid.

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