Yesterday, the National Institutes of Health launched a request for information regarding a proposed new grant mechanism for emeritus faculty members. Dr. Sally Rockey, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the NIH, explained in her blog, “We want to explore how we can help senior investigators who wish to transition out of a position that relies on funding from NIH research grants, and facilitate the transfer of their work, knowledge and resources to junior colleagues.” In short, emeritus scientists that receive this award would ostensibly use it to shut down their labs and transfer any and all lab materials to a junior collaborator.
The initial responses on Rockey’s blog have mostly voiced opposition. Dr. Jeremy Berg, ASBMB’s past president, called the mechanism “a remarkably bad idea” in a comment on the post, and he also doubted the necessity of the mechanism on his own blog. Also in the comments section of Rockey’s blog, Dr. Anne Carpenter expressed concern about the effects this new mechanism would have on the NIH’s efforts to diversify the biomedical workforce. While few have spoken in favor of the mechanism as yet, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology made a suggestion similar to the new proposed grant mechanism in a recent report.
A more general concern about the new funding mechanism is finding where the money for this mechanism will come from. With a stagnant NIH budget, the funding for this mechanism will need to be pulled from other grant mechanisms, which could have a negative effect on success rates and paylines for those mechanisms.
If you are interested in responding to this RFI, the form is here.
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