A double-header blog post! Pay lines and new approved concepts
This week, we have two important news items to share with you. The first is the most recent NIA pay line and funding policy. The second is the list of approved concepts for future funding priorities.
2018 pay lines
The newly posted NIA pay lines look a lot like last year's pay lines. Happily, we are paying most applications to the 19th percentile again this year and those with a focus on Alzheimer's or its related dementias to the 28th percentile. We subtract three points for large applications ($500K or over). New Investigator R01s (22 percent) and Early-Stage Investigator R01s (25 percent) receive an extra boost. Those with an Alzheimer's focus see a similar boost (New Investigator R01s to the 28th percentile and Early-Stage Investigator R01s to the 30th percentile).
We very much appreciate the generous increases provided through the Appropriations Act this year that made possible these expanded funding lines.
The pay line for NIA-reviewed and training-related applications are also shown in the funding policy page. Both the career award and fellowship funding lines have tightened a little this year compared to last. We are not being stingier here! We have increased support for both lines. The problem—if it can be called a problem—is that we are receiving an increasing number of outstanding applications. In fact, we paid more career awards going to a score of 20 this year than we paid last year going to a score of 22. The same thing happened in the Alzheimer's line where we paid to 28 this year but to 36 last year.
Overall, our greatest growth in applications is coming from students and junior faculty. That is a wonderful indicator of hope for the future of aging research and for progress against Alzheimer's disease. We are glad to sacrifice a point or two in the funding line to achieve that kind of growth any day!
Future research directions
As you may know, the National Advisory Council on Aging met here in Bethesda on May 22–23. Among its many actions, Council reviewed and approved 12 new concepts for NIA Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). Although these are still in the concept phase, it's likely—but by no means certain—that they will appear as FOAs in the NIH Guide before the end of the year. Approved concepts in this round:
- A Census of Cells and Circuits in the Aging Brain
- Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium
- Building an Infrastructure to Synergize Research for Improved Care of Older Adults across Specialties and Disciplines
- Development and Maintenance of an Aged Rodent Tissue Bank (Contract Renewal)
- Exploring Molecular Links Between Dietary Interventions and Circadian Rhythm
- Integrative Research to Understand the Role of the Gut-Brain Axis and the Microbiome in Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Disease
- Involvement of Small Business Concerns in the Preclinical Development of Novel Therapeutics which Target Fundamental Mechanisms of Aging
- Low-Cost Detection of Cognitive Decline in Clinical Settings
- Marmosets as a Translational Model for Aging Research
- Microbiome and Aging: Impact on Health and Disease
- Network for Identification, Evaluation and Tracking of Older Persons with Superior Cognitive Performance for Their Chronological Age
- Small Business Innovation Research Early-Phase Clinical Trials of Novel Interventions to Prevent, Delay, or Treat Aging-Related Conditions by Targeting Aging-Related Mechanisms (Clinical Trial Required)
You can find brief summaries of the approved concepts on our website, along with contact information for the NIA program staff involved with each. The award mechanism or the funds allocated for a particular concept are not mentioned. Program staff cannot provide this information until the concept officially becomes an FOA. Award mechanisms and funding limits are determined when the FOAs are developed for publication in the NIH Guide.
If you're currently working in one of the fields described in these concepts, we suggest that you start thinking about how you would respond to a Program Announcement or Request for Applications on your topic. Do you have the facilities and people available to investigate this topic? If not, can you get them if needed? Without committing a detailed plan to paper, you can brainstorm with your colleagues about how you would approach the topic.
Be sure to keep an eye on the NIH Guide to search for new FOAs, or take a look at this list of NIA funding opportunities. You can also sign up to receive a monthly list of all newly released NIA FOAs. Enter your e-mail address in the box at the bottom of the NIA home page. Click "Submit" and check "NIA Funding Opportunities."
We appreciate your feedback, so please let us know if this is helpful to you by contacting us or commenting below.