On May 18, the National Institutes of Health announced a pilot program that would give additional scrutiny to proposals from investigators who already receive more than $1.5 million in NIH funding. In an October blog post, Sally Rockey, director of extramural research, asked for input from the research community on ways the NIH could manage its budget during these times of fiscal austerity. The pilot program represents one strategy the NIH is trying to employ to more widely distribute funding in the face of the shrinking NIH budget.
Under the pilot program, proposals from investigators with more than $1.5 million in NIH funding will undergo special council review. The SCR will determine if the proposal represents research that is both highly promising and distinct from the other funded projects from the investigator. Based on its deliberations, the SCR will then make a recommendation as to whether the proposal should be funded or not.
On the same day as the program announcement, Rockey posted a blog piece that outlined the SCR program procedures and the motivation for its establishment. Rockey did emphasize that the SCR does not represent a cap on the amount of funding a single investigator can receive from NIH. She also pointed out that feedback from the pilot program will help determine whether NIH will fully implement the SCR policy for fiscal 2013.
The ASBMB public affairs staff will continue to monitor the SCR pilot program and provide our members with feedback on its implementation.