NIGMS To Dramatically Limit Funding for Scientific Meetings

In a December blog post, NIGMS states it will “accept very few R13 or U13 applications in the future. We strongly encourage potential applicants to contact us before requesting approval to submit an application.” Associate Director for Extramural Activities at NIGMS, Ann Hagan PhD, explains further:

“We understand the importance of these meetings, but we receive a large number of requests to support them and have concluded that it is not cost-effective to consider most of these requests. The numerous applications for small conference grants are costly to process and review, and the funds used for them compete directly with research project grants, including R01s. Our priority is to use our resources in the ways that most directly promote research and training, which already include mechanisms to allow students and fellows to attend scientific meetings.”

For the full blog post, click here. Note the comments below the post from the President of Cold Spring Harbor Lab and the Chair of an upcoming Gordon Research Conference, as well as Dr. Hagan’s reply about the use of the R25 mechanism to fund courses and training workshops.

NIH Releases Info For Grantees on Government Shutdown

As expected, with no Congressional agreement on FY14 funding, and with too much Obamacare-related animosity for Congress even to agree to a temporary bill to fund at FY13 levels, the US federal government shut down at midnight last night. This morning the NIH released a notice to grantees concerning the government shutdown. Highlights include the following:

SUBMISSION OF GRANT APPLICATIONS: For the duration of the funding lapse, applicants are strongly encouraged not to submit paper or electronic grant applications to NIH during the period of the lapse.  Adjustments to application submission dates that occur during the funding lapse will be announced once operations resume.  For any applications submitted immediately prior to or during the funding lapse, here is what will happen.

  1. For electronic submissions through Grants.gov: Grants.gov will be open and can accept electronic applications.  However, applications will not be processed by NIH until the eRA Systems are back on-line.  NIH will ensure that all applications submitted within the two business days before or during the funding lapse will receive the full viewing window once the systems are back on-line.
  2. For electronic submission of multi-project applications through NIH’s ASSIST system: The ASISST system will not be available until NIH systems are back on-line.
  3. Paper Submissions: Staff will not be available to receive paper applications during a funding lapse.

The safest course is to wait to submit any application to NIH until after operations resume and a Notice in the NIH Guide concerning adjusted submission dates is posted.

CONTACT WITH NIH STAFF: For the duration of the funding lapse, NIH extramural employees will be prohibited from working (remotely or in the office).

PEER REVIEW AND COUNCIL MEETINGS: For the duration of the funding lapse, the NIH will not be able to conduct initial peer review meetings – whether in-person or through teleconferences or other electronic media. Also during this time, the NIH staff will not be able to send or receive email messages, or update website information, and NIH computer systems that support review functions will not be operational.

CURRENTLY ACTIVE GRANT AWARDS:  For the duration of the funding lapse, all work and activities performed under currently active NIH grant awards may continue.  However, see Notice for limits on performing many of the reporting requirements associated with NIH grant funding.

Looking For Good NIH Funding News? Check Out FY12 SBIR/STTR Funding Levels

With all the despondency over the NIH budget situation, I feel the need to broadcast some good news. Last year I blogged on the plummeting funding levels for SBIR and STTR grant applications. I am happy to report that FY12 numbers are out and they may be a lone bright spot on an otherwise bleak NIH funding landscape. What do you think? Good news or too little, too late? Does it make you want to run out and write a Phase II SBIR?:

SBIR ONLY:

YEAR Phase I Phase II Fast Track
2008 27.1% 47.7% 31.4%
2009 21.9% 40.5% 23.1%
2010 13.7% 33.5% 15.6%
2011 11.5% 29.8% 10.3%
2012 15.6% 39.9% 15.9%
YEAR Total # SBIR/STTR Applications Reviewed Total # SBIR/STTRApplications Awarded Total Funding SBIR/STTR
2008 4356 1242 $341,059,957
2009 4529 1108 $339,594,601
2010 6338 1079 $334,370,963
2011 6415 902 $311,127,665
2012 5847 1095 $366,812,604