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September pay line update

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NIA Blog Team

We have pay line updates! Great literature does not arise from lists of numbers. Still, I hope these numbers will pique your interest.

Increases to career development and general allocation awards

First, the major story is the final career development awards pay line for the year. And that number is 20. Yes, 20. Really! I know many of you were in despair over how you could ever crack our challenging pay line. If your application scored 20 or better, you have now cracked it!

Back in the spring, I wrote: “I don’t imagine that we can wave a wand that will have us paying all the way to 19 as we did last year.” I’m really, really surprised and delighted to be wrong. How did this happen? Well, we are now able to use a pot of unused funds reserved for our commitment base (those reserved for paying the non-competing years of career awards), and that is now spreading a little joy! And, yes, the Alzheimer’s career development pay line remains a lot merrier—we are paying to 32 there.

Second, we are increasing our general allocation research grant pay line to the 11th percentile. That 11th percentile is a little like returning home to us—we managed this rarified height for our general allocation for three years in a row until FY 2015, and we’re thrilled to have crawled back there now. (It was a struggle!) The large application pay line stays at the 7th percentile.

New and early-stage investigator R01 applications are now being paid to the 19th and 21st percentiles, respectively. The Alzheimer’s allocation line remains at the 22nd percentile. As for the one-year R56 awards, we are paying quite a few in the general allocation line to applications that did not quite make that pay line, and we are paying a handful from the Alzheimer’s allocation to promising applications in that field.

Background on fellowships and small business awards

Some background information is in order on some other updates to the funding policy:

Our fellowship funding line stays at 30. That now includes the first round of applications for FY 2017. These applications were reviewed in June and July, and we intend to pay them before the end of September. If we waited to pay them until the next fiscal year—from October 1 onwards—I doubt that we could make December or even January start dates because, once again, it is unlikely that we will obtain a final budget appropriation for the year. As you might expect, we are paying a little higher for fellowships in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. That line is 33.

In the Small Business program, we are initially paying only to a line of 34 for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards for the applications, which were reviewed in June and July. We did announce a pay line of 42 earlier in the year, and I anticipate that we will be able to pay to that line or close to it early in the next fiscal year for these applications. In the SBIR Alzheimer’s disease allocation, including applications from our ongoing program announcement in this area, we’re paying to a score of 48.

Forecast for FY2017

So, that’s it for FY 2016! We’ve heard many rumblings on our budget for next year and occasional flashes of light. But the outlook remains uncertain for now. When we know that budget, then you will know it, too. Watch this space.

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