Budget and pay lines update: Progress and prudence
In the world of NIA grants and funding, one thing that may help get you through the winter blues is a few rays of sunny budget news to calibrate and clarify our pay lines moving forward.
The FY 2021 omnibus appropriations bill was signed into law Dec. 27, 2020. This bill includes $3.899 billion for NIA (a 1.57% uptick to our overall base budget), which includes a $300 million increase in federal funding for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) research. With these appropriations, NIA is now the third largest of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers, budget-wise. This boost will benefit all our divisions and enable us to continue making steady progress in the science of aging.
Cautiously conservative for now
Now for the prudent part: NIA will continue to take a conservative approach moving forward with our pay lines. This is mainly due to the number of applications received that are scoring well in study sections and the amount of non-competing awards we need to make (paying at 100%). That means we are keeping our general pay line the same for now.
We have, however, increased the AD/ADRD pay lines of our CSR-reviewed applications by 3% and by three points (Overall Impact Score) for program projects and other NIA-reviewed research. Pay lines are holding steady for AD/ADRD-related parent career development awards and parent fellowship awards. We are also reporting a career development pay line (General) increase from a score of 18 to 21.
While NIA expects to pay most applications within these lines, when scientific concerns are identified in peer review that weaken the case for making an award, we may invite a resubmission of the application. Similarly, we may pay a few applications beyond the pay lines when they focus on high priorities of the Institute. You can view more details at our updated funding line policy webpage.
Stay positive and persevere!
While the incremental pace of the budgetary world can sometimes be confusing or frustrating, we encourage everyone to stay positive. New and early-stage investigators still have a higher pay line. Plus, there is always a chance that we will increase pay lines before the end of year. A lot depends on the number of well-scored applications that come in for the May 2021 meeting of the National Advisory Council on Aging.
Above all, NIA program officers are your expert sources for what is best for your individual application, so please contact them with questions on how these updates could impact your work. Thank you for your continued patience as NIA does its best to plan ahead prudently and stay as transparent as possible. Keep an eye on this blog for future updates, and feel free to share your questions or concerns below.