Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Making R01 funding work for the Medical Sciences

We need to spread R01 funding around more to ensure that the best science has funding adequate to move forward. To do this I believe changing how we think about R01 funding and expenditures can be used to put the NIH funds to better use. Too often successful researchers have the majority of their salaries on R01s and the institutions have little skin in the game. PI salaries can be a large part of the escalating budget while relatively less is spent actually prosecuting the science. There is need to initiate changes in budget such as caps on PI salary (say 30% of a $150K cap), and limit the number of R01s per investigator to 2-3. This would allow more R01s to be funded overall.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The impact of spreading the funding would be to improve funding rates, improve funding of new investigators, and supporting more diverse science. Negative impacts would include reduced funding some large labs. In my experience, in some cases, this would be a good thing. There could be special programs and exceptions for large labs that make significant important contributions and serve as resources to reduce negative impact. Review of grants should include information on manuscript retractions and large labs with many retractions should be carefully scrutinized for defunding.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Such changes would have to be made incrementally over time since this will require states and institutions to pick up some of the cost of science and therefore must be phased in to allow for time to adjust the workforce in specific places to align with budgetary constraints. Institutions might be encouraged to do more fundraising to actually support science to fill gaps.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Keith Jones with major input from Pieter de Tombe

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Idea No. 479