A recurring question from readers after I post a new funding line blog post is: Does that line apply to my application? It usually does, bringing good news to those blessed with applications within that line. The normal caution applies—the line means that we expect to pay awards. Still, the funding line doesn’t apply to everything.
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.
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.
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!
As the funding policy statement makes clear, the fiscal year 2016 budget is a historic first for NIA. Yes, we received a very substantial increase for research related to Alzheimer’s disease—$350 million. But, in addition to that, we received a 4.2-percent increase in our general budget. That amount is above the rate of inflation for the first time since 2003, at the end of the era of doubling the budget. But, the competition for new and renewing awards remains fierce.
As we begin the new calendar year, I am happy to discuss exciting news about the NIH and NIA budgets for fiscal year 2016. As many of you probably know by now, on December 18, President Obama signed into law the FY2016 Omnibus Bill, which gave NIH an overall increase of $2 billion, or about 6.6 percent, above the FY2015 appropriation level. Importantly for NIA, this included an increase of approximately 33 percent over our FY2015 budget, which in large measure reflects some $350 million specifically directed to research into Alzheimer’s disease.
We will be posting a new pay line for Alzheimer’s research, and I want to alert you to two important facts around it.