Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

To support the future of investigator-initiated research by sustaining and developing a diverse biomedical workforce with the skills and research resources to pursue emerging opportunities in science.

Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

R01 funding

Unless we fix and increase the R01 funding rate, which most basic scientists depend upon, we will continue to lose outstanding scientists of all ages and not have the next generation of scientists or the numbers of currently outstanding scientists to answer any of these compelling questions and critical challenges. Related to this, much has been written about the significant failure rate of clinical trials in part due ...more »

Submitted by (@parise)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Survival of the enterprise and maintaining US competitiveness.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

NIGMS has some interesting approaches that help their funding rates. Can any of these approaches be adopted more readily by NHLBI?

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Supporting early-stage investigators

How can we provide better support for junior investigators who are transitioning from K Award to R Award funding?

Submitted by (@ed.silverman)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

With the challenging NIH funding climate, many junior investigators are struggling to obtain their first R series grant. Without better support of our junior investigators, the next generation of investigators in academic medicine is in peril.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Edwin K. Silverman

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

NOVEL APPROACHES TO TRAINING IN SLEEP AND CIRCADIAN RESEARCH

Sleep and circadian disorders are relatively new areas of medicine. Most universities currently lack a critical mass of investigators to develop institutional T32 grants. Thus, there are, unfortunately, few such programs nationally. The Sleep Research Society has recognized this and is taking active steps to facilitate development of other T32 institutional training grants. This will not, however, help the majority ...more »

Submitted by (@jnoel0)

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 current status of research training in sleep and circadian disorders suggest that new approaches are needed. The field has developed one multi-center training grant to bring training to different institutions. This is focused on genetic/genomic approaches. It is run by the University of Pennsylvania which has a well developed program in this area. The fellows in training are, however, at other institutions, i.e., Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan and Stanford. Web-based approaches are used for work-in-progress seminars, grant development workshops and group mentorship, and didactic lectures. This strategy could be used more broadly to develop research training in other areas of sleep and circadian research. Stimulating this would have a major impact on research training in this new field of medicine.

 

Another relevant strategy would be to encourage adding slots in a competitive way for sleep/circadian research to other existing institutional T32 grants.

 

There are multiple mechanisms in place to communicate opportunities to the sleep/circadian academic community, i.e., Sleep-L, administered by the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research; Sleep Research Society biweekly blog; the Sleep Research Network. Specific encouragement of this approach would broaden the base for research training and would be of high impact.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The field of sleep and circadian research has had a long commitment to facilitating research training. The Sleep Research Society has hosted Trainee Day at our annual meeting for 20 years. The Sleep Research Society is funding early-stage investigators through its Foundation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine runs, in collaboration with the NHLBI, an event at NIH for early-stage investigators in clinical research. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation has a “Bridge to K Award” program that provides funds to early-stage investigators who just missed funding on their first application for a K award. The Sleep Research Society has provided travel funds for early-stage investigators to attend recent workshops held by different NIH Institutes including National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Thus, there is no doubt of the commitment of the field and its professional organizations.

 

The impact of these new initiatives would be to broaden the base for research training beyond a few institutions. The number of institutions with a critical mass of investigators to mount successful T32 institutional training grants is not sufficient to provide the necessary future biomedical research workforce in this area. Novel approaches, based on modern communication IT technology, are needed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sleep Research Society

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Safeguarding Mentorship for the Next Generation

There is a need to ensure that mentors have adequate skills, time, and incentives to mentor successfully.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Continuity of research discoveries requires that outstanding mentors impart their passion and research skills to the next generation. Opportunities and incentives must be provided to ensure that highly qualified scientists can devote adequate time and effort to mentor promising junior colleagues, as well as enhance their own research output.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Mentor-directed opportunities can be immediately made available to provide protected time and salary for scientists with a passion for mentoring.

The current K24 mechanisms have been shown to be quite beneficial, not only for the mentor who can advance his career in the academe, but more so for the trainees who are exposed to the science that the mentor brings. However, K24 awards are primarily for patient-oriented research which enhance clinical skills. Non-clinical biomedical research will also benefit from similar programs.

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT FOR APHERESIS MEDICINE INVESTIGATORS

The apheresis medicine encompasses treatment of numerous diseases many of which are directly related to blood, lung and heart. However, there are very limited opportunities for training young investigators in basic and translational research related to Apheresis Medicine. There is a need to promote Apheresis Medicine as a viable field of research for junior and established investigators. The influx of well-trained junior ...more »

Submitted by (@zbigniew.m.szczepiorkowski)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Therapeutic apheresis is the process of transiently removing whole blood from the body, separating it into various components (e.g., cells, plasma, proteins, antibodies, antigen-antibody complexes, lipids, etc.), removing those components that contribute to disease, and then returning the remaining blood with possible addition of a blood component to the body.

 

Hundreds of thousands of apheresis procedures are being performed every year in the US. Many of these procedures are life-savings while others are likely to be of limited benefit to patients and healthcare system at large. There is lack of good understanding pertaining to basic mechanisms of apheresis and optimal ways of applying apheresis to the improvement of underlying conditions as well as to the ability of apheresis to enhance other treatment modalities. This in turn is caused by significant shortage of well-educated and trained physician scientists willing to address basic science and translational-clinical questions related to applications of apheresis in clinical practice.

 

Currently there are no specific mechanisms for training such individuals. Utilization of and integration with existing educational/training programs, such as T32 grants, K23/K24/K25 grants, institutional K12 awards and CTSA educational programs would likely result in the cadre of junior investigators who can tackle questions related to basic mechanisms as well as clinical approaches to treating diseases using apheresis strategies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Feasibility: Incorporation of apheresis medicine training into currently available resources is likely to be highly feasible. This training can be provided across many medical specialties including hematology, transfusion medicine, cardiology, pulmonology and others. Inclusion of basic scientists involved in research of blood disorders, lung and heart disorders, as well as immunology will expand the outreach. Identification of individuals interested in pursuing research in apheresis medicine might be accomplished on different levels of training starting with medical school, internship, residency and fellowship as well as early years of medical career in a variety of medical specialties.

 

Challenges: The primary challenge is related to perception. Apheresis has an undeserved reputation as an "old" science; one that in recent years has been overtaken at times by newer medical treatments. Yet it still is the only and often life-saving treatment for certain conditions. Apheresis remains the go-to procedure for treating many common and rare maladies alike, such as TTP, and new treatment indications are being added. Although many specialists like hematologists, neurologists, nephrologists see the evidence and benefits of therapeutic apheresis in their everyday work, the progress of Apheresis Medicine as a medical specialty has been generally slow. The other major challenge is lack of funding of basic research and translational research related to Apheresis Medicine.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Zbigniew M. Szczepiorkowski, Yanyun Wu on behalf of ASFA

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Suipport new research using the R21 mechanism

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.

Submitted by (@georgeporter)

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 state of NHLBI funding rates for R01s are so low that we are undoubtedly loosing many young researchers as the fail to obtain adequate support for their research. Funding R21 grants will allow new, innovative, and perhps risky projects to proceed, while keeping less established researchers in the field. Re-establishing R21 funding may prevent the impression that NHLBI is more interested in supporting established labs and not advocating for and supporting new investigators.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Given the limited budget of R21s, they will not have as large an impact on the overall budget of NHLBI as the equivalent number of funded R01 grants. Therefore, this change is feasible from a financial standpoint. Obviously, funding R21s will decrease funding for other mechanisms. Finally, it is possible that many of these grants will not lead to advances in the field, but it is my understanding that studies show the same thing about R01s.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : George Porter

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101 up votes
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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Loss of the middle years

The challenge I write about is the significant lack of funding for science in NHLBI. There are currently programs to increase the funding of early career investigators and many senior faculty are obtaining continuing renewal.

How will NHLBI keep those in their middle of their career years from dropping out of the biomedical workforce?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

It is clear that a limitation in funding for NIH grants is causing scientists to leave the field of translational science. I have observed scientists putting in 6-10 grants per year and receiving scores that are close to funding but not being successful.

 

I believe that we have spent a lot of resources to aid early career faculty such that their futures are bright. What I am most concerned about is mid-career faculty who are leaving science in large numbers.

 

If we don’t do something about this challenge soon, we will have lost a whole generation of bright scientists. These are individuals who have had 1 or 2 NIH grants and are not able to get continued funding. When they drop out of scientific careers we lose all that training and support that has gone into their careers thus far.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The current political climate makes this challenge a critical issue to resolve.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Elizabeth Parks

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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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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Funding high risk/high reward ideas

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.

Submitted by (@vfenik)

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 new funding mechanisms would attract more ideas to the field.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

A special expert teams would need to be created to review such applications.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Victor Fenik

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Stop changing the biosketch

Recent changes in the biosketch do nothing to help us reviewers, and put a burden on submitters to change and learn new formats. I see no reason for this at all, the previous iteration was fine and gave all information needed.

 

Nothing more need be said.

Submitted by (@wjones7)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Reduce researcher time in preparing grant submissions.

 

Reduce administrative time from NIH staff implementing and communicating changes. Only downside is the company that produced a 64 page primer on the new format would be out of luck. So this tells the story, it takes a 64 page primer to help someone make a minor change in the bio that reviewers (speaking for myself) find neutral.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Reduces wasted time and resources. Use that money to fund some science!

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Keith Jones

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81 up votes
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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Increase and Support Research Based Faculty

As the current chair of the Research and Training Division, I would like to convey that the AAAAI membership would like the NHLBI to consider the following in the development of its strategic plan: There has been a decline in research-based faculty in the past few years.  The challenge is two-fold.  First, increase the research faculty pipeline with increased focus on training and recruitment of research focused fellows ...more »

Submitted by (@wheeze)

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

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Mitchell Grayson on behalf of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Distribution of funding

As long as funding remains at grossly inadequate levels, to distribute the research money more fairly, limit the total dollar amount any PI can receive. It should be a reasonably large number in order to fund multiple good ideas that are peer-evaluated, but small enough to allow more PIs to get funding.

Submitted by (@edward.fisher)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

More PIs will get funding and the most talented investigators will still get support for multiple projects.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The old argument against this sort of thing is that the best ideas merit funding, but we already have % effort limits and if one carefully evaluates the multiple awards the most successful PIs get, there is usually some overlap. Also, the NIH in past surveys have found that bigger labs are less productive on a per person basis.So, even if there is no support for a firm number (like $1 million/year), better enforcement of % effort and overlaps should be done.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Edward A. Fisher

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