Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Seen In Almost All Brains of Former NFL Players in Largest Study To Date

In by far the largest study to date of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a study now shows that 110 of 111 former NFL players suffered from the degenerative brain disease. Results were published in the July 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The disease is linked to repeat blows to the head and can only be diagnosed after death. CTE and its link to football were recently highlighted in the film Concussion.

The study was conducted by Dr. Ann McKee of the VA Boston Healthcare System and the Boston University School of Medicine. Click here to read the JAMA publication, and here to read an NPR article about the research.

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Posted: by By in Meg Bouvier Blog

New Webinar Short Course To Help You Write Your NIH Submission

In the past few years, I have noticed an uptick in the number of grantees who pay for my grant support services out of pocket. I find this truly dismaying. Grantwriting is an essential skill for a biomedical researcher to master. Writing grant submissions to NIH is an iterative process, it takes time and multiple submissions to titrate your approach to a given IC and study section before you are successful. That means these grantees may be paying for grantsmanship support on multiple submissions from their own pocket, which is thousands of dollars.

In order to provide cost-effective support to the largest group possible, I developed a short course for grantees writing an NIH submission. I named the course NIH Launch, because I hope it will help people launch their funding relationship with NIH.

To develop the course, I thought carefully about the kinds of services my clients seem to find most helpful. I then translated that information into four 90-minute webinars.

The first will be offered in early Feb to help you take key steps before you write, such as mocking up different specific aims and shopping them around to different program officers at NIH to gauge enthusiasm. The second course, given later in Feb, will assist you in writing the most important page of your submission: The Specific Aims. In March, a webinar will discuss ways to “sell” the Significance of your submission, and concisely convey your competitive advantages in the Innovation section. Another will walk you through writing the Approach, the section whose score most closely correlates with your overall impact score.

I offer the courses live in February and March so that you will have a quality draft by early April, which gives you plenty of time to obtain feedback from trusted colleagues and mentors before the June-July deadlines.

Don’t worry if you have a schedule conflict—you can take the courses on demand at your convenience.

I have given versions of these talks for years in my in-person trainings; I am excited to be able to expand the number of grantees I can teach by offering these courses in a webinar format.

Another exciting new offering—we offer unlimited access to ALL our webinars for one year for a flat fee. Many of our clients have already signed up for the Annual Subscription-Individual for $1,000. We are also excited to offer Annual Subscription to Institutions for $30,000; this would enable hundreds of grantees to access our full complement of webinars throughout the year. This may be our most cost-effective strategy yet for training a large group of grantees in order to increase an institution’s NIH funding portfolio.

We hope you will take advantage of our new offerings and welcome your feedback!

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Understanding Indirect Costs at NIH

Few topics prompt more questions or seem to stir up more controversy than the subject of Indirect Costs. Everyone seems to have an opinion about how they are calculated, on what a grantee’s institution spends them, and whether any portion should be funneled back to the grantee and his/her department or school. Invariably, my clients who are research development staff, research administrators, and research deans voice loud and often contradictory opinions on this topic (sometimes contradictory to my own opinions!)

For those of us involved in NIH extramural grants, the more we can understand about this controversial topic, the better. Here are two resources I have found helpful as I dig around to educate myself on the topic. I hope you find them helpful as well:

  • “Indirect Costs 101- How NIH Supports Research Infrastructure for Extramural Research”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XvVibv2opQ
    Sally Rockey, PhD, Deputy Director of NIH Extramural Research
    September 2015
    This ~22-min presentation gave me some historical perspective on IDC and dispelled some common myths. It is a useful primer to understand the intent of IDC and how it is used to pay for grant-related services at an institution that cannot be tied to a specific project, such as administrative costs, facility costs, etc. It also explains that NIH does not negotiate the indirect rate with institutions, and that this trans-federal negotiated rate is re-negotiated typically every four years.
  • “Indirect Costs: Keeping the Lights On”
    by Heidi Ledford, published in Nature, November 19, 2014
    http://www.nature.com/news/indirect-costs-keeping-the-lights-on-1.16376
    This article talks about the wide variability between indirect rates at universities (ranges from 20%-85%). The spread is even greater at hospitals and non-profits. Non-profits have the highest indirect rates. This information is graphically displayed in a cool interactive scatter plot—if you hover your mouse over a data point, the stats for institution pop up. The article also discusses that institutions often receive less than the amount negotiated because of restrictions placed on what they can receive for particular types of support (for example, there is a cap on the amount devoted to administrative costs.)
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