Spring 2008, Issue 8

NIH Launches Funding Homepage for New Investigators

The Office of Extramural Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently launched a webpage with funding and information links for new investigators. The NIH funds basic and applied biomedical and behavioral research relevant to its mission, which is “science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.” Research areas include biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences, as well as cross-over fields. While each funding opportunity may define “new investigator” in a slightly different way, a basic NIH definition would be a researcher who has never been the principal investigator (PI) on an R01 or equivalent NIH grant. Different funding mechanisms serve researchers at different stages of their training and research careers, including predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and new independent researchers. New investigator funding opportunities include:

  • New Investigators Program Pathway to Independence (PI) Award: First offered for FY 2007, the NIH has committed approximately $390 million to this program over the next five years. It plans to issue between 150 and 200 awards per year. This award differs from others currently supported by the NIH in that it offers two interconnected forms of support: an initial mentored research phase (1-2 years) followed by an independent researcher phase (up to 3 years). The PI Award is open to both US citizens and non-US citizens conducting research in the US. Application receipt dates are February 12, June 12, and October 12. AIDS and AIDS-related application receipt dates are May 7, September 7, and January 7. This award is for postdoctoral researchers-in-training.

  • NIH Director's New Innovator Award: The NIH funded 30 New Innovator Awards in FY 2007, the first year these awards were offered, and expects to fund 24 in FY 2008. This award, which may not be offered after 2008, differs from others currently supported by the NIH in that it focuses on bold innovative research with the potential for significant impact. Each recipient may request up to $1.5 million in direct costs (as well as applicable indirect costs) for the five-year project period. This award is open to both US citizens and non-US citizens conducting research in the US. The application receipt date for 2008 funding is March 31, 2008. This award is for independent researchers able to apply for R01 grants.

  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA): These awards are separated into Institutional Research Training Grants (T awards) and Individual Fellowships (F awards). Information on active NRSA training grants at Tufts can be obtained from the Office of the Vice Provost. Individual Fellowship awards are offered by many NIH Institutes and Centers for both predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers-in-training. The F Files list current fellowship opportunities. Applicants must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the US or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence by the time of the award. Standard application receipt dates are April 8, August 8, and December 8.

  • Career Transition Award (K22): These awards are offered by many NIH Institutes and Centers to assist postdoctoral fellows in transition to a faculty position, or in the early years of a faculty position. See the K Kiosk for details of currently available K22 awards. Applicants must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the US or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence by the time of the award. Standard application receipt dates are February 12, June 12, and October 12.

  • Research Project Grant (R01) Program: Any qualified investigator with a good idea for a research program that responds to the NIH mission may submit an R01 application for funding through his/her institution. R01s are most often investigator initiated in response to either the R01 Parent Announcement or a specific Program Announcement (PA) or Request for Application (RFA), which are posted on Grants.gov Find and the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All Institutes and most Centers at NIH support the R01 grant mechanism. Application receipt dates are February 5, June 5, and October 5. AIDS and AIDS-related application receipt dates are May 1, September 1 and January 2.

All requests for NIH funding must be submitted in response to a particular Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Parent Announcements (PAs) describe funding opportunities that accept unsolicited or investigator-initiated applications. A Program Announcement (also abbreviated PA) is an announcement of funding for a broadly defined research area. Program Announcements usually remain active for three years and accept applications for funding on Standard Receipt Dates. A Request for Application (RFA) is usually a one-time announcement of funding for a more narrowly defined research area. RFAs usually have a single receipt date. For more definitions of NIH funding mechanisms, see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/description.htm#foa.

The New Investigators webpage is http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm.

Other helpful webpages include:
Grant Writing Tips Sheets http://grants.nih.gov/grants/grant_tips.htm and
Insider’s Guide to Peer Review For Applicants.

For more information on funding opportunities, please go to http://www.tufts.edu/central/research/Funding.htm.

 

 

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