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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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Eliezer Masliah to head NIA’s Division of Neuroscience

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that Eliezer Masliah, M.D., a leader in Alzheimer’s disease research, has been appointed as the new director of the Institute’s Division of Neuroscience.

NIA staff are gearing up for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2016. The annual gathering of dementia researchers, clinicians, and health care providers is in Toronto, Canada, this year on July 22–28. The annual meeting attracts some 4,000 members of the Alzheimer’s community with its mix of newly reported findings from researchers from around the globe and the latest in emerging technologies and approaches to discovery. NIA leadership and staff are participating in a number of sessions and meetings, so please be on the lookout if you want to touch base.

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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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It’s spring! Here’s some exciting news that may help you get some spring fever! Effective with applications submitted on February, 12, 2016, and moving forward, NIH is allowing up to $100,000 plus fringe benefits toward an applicant’s salary to cover the percentage effort requested on NIH K08 and K23 awards. Current K awardees also benefit from these new guidelines.

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Thousands of gene candidates in the human genome have the potential to play a role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But you are just one scientist. How can you even start such an enormous task? This quest—one scientist analyzing thousands of gene candidates—can seem overwhelming. I want to share with you two great NIA-funded resources that collect and store biological specimens and data—and are available to you and the wider research community.

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When I began graduate school in 1999, I knew right away that my experience would be different from that of my peers: I am a female scientist of color, and when I looked for others that looked like me, I saw only a few. Naturally, I wondered why this was the case and whether anything could be done to change the situation. While I understood the complexities of this issue, I believed that something could be done, and fortunately when I arrived at NIH, I found ready agreement among my colleagues.

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