Inside NIA: A Blog for Researchers
Posted on June 3, 2015 by Jeannette Johnson, Deputy Chief, Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities.
I am a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) and currently lead the NIA-N Review committee. I’m constantly recruiting grant application reviewers: I mean, All The Time! During the course of each year, I also run a multitude of meetings to review grants responding to Requests for Applications, Program Project Grants (PPG), and Institutional/Individual Training Grant opportunities. It’s a good thing that I don’t take rejection personally, because more than half of the reviewers I try to recruit say, “NO,” and about a quarter of them just don’t answer my emails. One time I asked 89 people to review a PPG and only 14 of them said yes. Read More
Posted on May 27, 2015 by Dallas Anderson, Program Administrator, Dementias of Aging Branch, Division of Neuroscience.
For scientists writing NIH grant applications, the aims are THE THING. The applicant calls the program officer: “What do you think of these aims?” The program officer listens and senses the enthusiasm. Later, however, when the aims get stated in the language of the grant application, the enthusiasm has been drained away, and the importance of the aims has been obscured by a wordy style of writing and a lack of focus. The program officer tries to be helpful by suggesting that it is important to make the reviewers enthusiastic about the proposed work. “But I am a scientist, not a salesman!” The applicant is in disbelief. Read More
Every NIH institute has an executive responsible for managing its business organization. This is someone who keeps computer systems, buildings, human resources, contracts, and budget operations running, someone who makes or administers policies. If I was on your campus, I might be called the Chief Business Officer. Read More
Pepper Centers—a chain of spice shops?! Maybe. But at NIA, when we talk about Pepper Centers, we mean our prized centers of excellence in geriatrics research. They support biomedical research leading to maintenance of functional independence into older age. How could the Pepper Centers be important to you? I encourage you to look at joint and multidisciplinary projects that can enhance the already-excellent work that many Centers have undertaken. And, to look to them as a data resource for your studies in aging. The map on the Coordinating Center’s website provides links to each Center’s website, where you can find out more about their resources and people. Read More
We’re excited about participating in the upcoming annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society May 14–17 at National Harbor, just outside of Washington, DC. And, we’re hoping to see many of you at the sessions featuring NIA staff, who will be talking about research funded and conducted by NIA, as well as funding opportunities and applying for grants. Please add these sessions to your schedule in the conference app. Or, print this out to bring with to you the meeting. Read More
We posted an update to our funding policy on Friday. The sobering news is that for most areas of research within NIA’s mission the payline will be at the 8th percentile, with 5th percentile for applications requesting $500,000 and over, and 12th and 14th percentiles, respectively, for new and early stage investigator R01s. So, though we have raised it a little from our interim payline, this funding line has fallen a lot from where we held it in the four prior years. We expect these paylines to be final for fiscal year 2015, for most applications that are not related to Alzheimer’s disease. Read More
The average age of first-time R01 funded investigators who have PhDs remains 42 even after seven years of policies at NIH to increase the numbers of new and early-stage investigators. And, over the same interval, age has continued to increase for first-time R01-funded MDs and MD-PhDs, despite the policies we have in place. What is going on? Read More
I want to share with you part of a recent discussion I had with the Friends of the NIA about the importance of public-private partnerships in aging research. Read More
The explosion of Big Data promises to transform biomedical research, but all too often researchers are stymied by limited access to these complex biomedical data sets. To overcome some of these barriers, we’ve recently helped launch an important new data resource—the AMP-AD Knowledge Portal. Freely accessible to the wider research community, it provides entrée to large scale human “omics” data sets needed to discover and select the next generation of therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease. Just a few weeks ago, the first wave of data was released—I invite you to take a look at what’s available and consider using it in your research. Read More
How do I write a grant application that will get funded? It’s a question I get asked all the time. Of course there is no magic formula. And, you may have heard much of the most important advice already: be strategic, and so on. After a career helping to direct resources to worthy science—a career on the sidelines, some might say—I have some thoughts and advice that may be useful to you as you prepare your next application. Read More