The decision by NHLBI to not support the R21 mechanism may be stifling new and innovative research, partcularly by young investigators who do not have a track record of R01 funding. The critical challenge is to keep funding new ideas from younger investigators to keep their careers viable while they obtain the data and publications necessary for further R01-level funding.
As indicated in two influential papers we have published, there are many potential contributing factors to obesity beyond those commonly discussed and studied and some of these are potentially modifiable. Increased research to understand whether these putative factors are really influential and whether they can be modified to produce benefits with respect to obesity are in order.
There is a need to develop funding mechanisms for high risk/high reward ideas which have a high potential to open new paths for investigation in important fields which would lead to new discoveries.