Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

AREA award funding for underfunded institutes by NHLBI

Why the funding rate for AREA (R15) grants from NHLBI is at its lowest with a success rate of only 7.2% in 2014?

Submitted by (@singhk)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The main objective of AREA (R15) grants is to expose students to meritorious research and to strengthen the research environment of the underfunded institutes by NIH. It was shocking to see that the success rate for AREA awards in 2014 was only 7.2%, while it was 18.2% for RO1s. It is 2.5X more difficult to get an AREA award than an RO1. The maximum dollar amount (direct cost) for AREA award is $300,000 for three years, while it is $250,000/year for a regular RO1. NHLBI should encourage scientists from small institutes to submit AREA grants, not discourage them. Small Institutes provide high quality training to future generation of scientists.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

In 2008, the success rate for AREA grants from NHLBI was 41.8%, while it was 22.2% for RO1. In 2014, success rate for R15 declined by 5.8-fold, while the decline for RO1s was only by 1.2-fold. In case, NHLBI is unable to increase funding level for AREA awards, NHLBI should stop funding AREA awards altogether as it was done for R21s a couple years back.

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Institutional Support for K applicants as they transition to independence

What can research institutions do to entice and support potential and actual K award applicants to become independent scientists?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The period between the end of the K award and the first R01 is a critical one wherein many trainees, with no financial support from their institutions, opt out of a science career and pursue other viable sources of income, such as in the clinics, in teaching, or in the private sector. An investment from their institution, either by way of bridge awards, protected time, or salary commitment will enable retention of these highly- trained individuals and ensure a vibrant research workforce in the years to come.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This type of activity can be initiated immediately by the private institutions as a way of motivating physician- scientists and other scientists to remain in the academe, and eventually reap the rewards by way of research awards that bring prestige and indirect costs back to the institution.

In an analysis of 132 NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases K08 grantees between FY2005-2011, only 52% applied for subsequent NIH grants, whereas 48% did not even try, suggesting more incentives should be given for them to stay within the biomedical research workforce. However, among the Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) funded in 2013, 58% had previous training grants, suggesting training grants give Research Project Grant (RPG) applicants a definite edge.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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