NIH Rolls Back Proposal to Limit Grant Support to Individual Investigators

As reported previously in the May issue of Endocrine News, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposed to implement a new policy to place a cap on total research support that may be received by an individual investigator. The cap, based on a metric called the Grant Support Index (GSI), would be equivalent to 3 R01-series grants. As of June 12, the Endocrine Society has learned that the NIH is no longer proposing any cap on grants, but will instead pursue an entirely new policy to accomplish the goal of balancing funding support across all career stages.

The new policy, called the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, will allocate an estimated $210 million per year, increasing by ~$210 million each year, to arrive at a total of ~$1.1 billion per year, to raise the payline for early stage investigators (ESIs) who have been principal investigators (PIs) for less than or equal to 10 years and are in danger of losing NIH support. The policy will extend to those PIs seeking their second NIH grant. Funding for this initiative will come from reprioritization of NIH funds and use of innovative grant mechanisms such as the R56 and R35 programs. Over a longer timeframe, NIH will also develop metrics of productivity to better enhance stewardship of taxpayer dollars and assess research output by measuring various outcomes such as patents, medical interventions, and changes to medical practice.

The Endocrine Society is encouraged that the NIH took into account feedback received from various sources to revise its approach to supporting researchers throughout their careers. The Society appreciates that NIH will continue to use stakeholder input to inform short- and long-term actions in pursuit of this goal.

For more information, please see the presentation “Enhancing Stewardship: The Next Generation of Researchers Initiative” on the NIH website or contact the Endocrine Society associate director for science policy, Joseph Laakso.

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