Last week, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences announced the release of a report assessing the impact and output of the Large-Scale Collaborative Project Awards program, also known as glue grants. The report gave a mixed review of the program, citing both success and failures of individual projects. Ultimately, the report found that “the program as a whole had not achieved outcomes commensurate with the scope of the awards and the overall investment in them.” However, the report did not disavow support for large, multi-collaborator projects, which they felt addressed scientific issues in ways not possible with investigator-initiated grants such as R01s. ASBMB has signaled its position on the issue in discussions with NIGMS leadership, expressing a preference that precious research funds be concentrated towards R01s and similar grants aimed at individual researchers, rather than so-called “large-science” projects, such as those funded by glue grants.
The assessment took into account input from various parties, including glue grant recipients, NIGMS staff, and a panel of expert reviewers. NIGMS also sought feedback from the scientific community back in January. Based on the report, the NIGMS Advisory Council voted overwhelmingly to discontinue the program as it currently exists once the current round of projects expires in 2015.