Science policy news weekly update: June 9, 2017

The ASBMB’s Public Affairs Department encourages all readers of the Policy Blotter to alert the office about interesting and relevant articles. Please send tips to astothert@asbmb.org.

What’s new in Blotter news?

The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, discusses the NIH’s plan to shelve the controversial grant funding cap policy and develop a new initiative to increase early and mid-career scientists receiving grants.

NIH shelves GSI policy and introduces something new

The ASBMB’s policy fellow, Andrew Stothert, writes about the White House’s decision to retain Francis S. Collins as director of the National Institutes of Health and highlight responses to that news from members of Congress and the scientific community.

Trump keeps Collins as director of the NIH

Porter reports on the second quarterly advisory council meeting for the National Institute of General Medical Science held May 25–26.

Where have we been? Attending the NIGMS advisory council meeting

 

NIH Director Francis Collins announced Thursday the agency’s decision to scrap the proposed research grant cap, or Grant Support Index (GSI), citing backlash from the scientific community. A new initiative, the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, instead will redistribute up to $1.1 billion of its budget over the next five years to fund research grants for early and mid-career researchers in hopes of combating the NIH’s observed age bias in grant offerings. In theory, this initiative will attempt to solve the same problem the GSI was developed to remedy, just without limiting the number of grants a researcher can have or directly pulling funding from larger labs. Principal Deputy Director of the NIH Larry Tabak said he believes this initiative could provide more than 2,000 new R01-level grants. However, Collins mentioned that President Donald Trump’s proposed NIH funding cuts could prevent this initiative from ever taking off. Collins added, “We don’t have a printing press for money here.”

NIH scraps plans for cap on research grants (Nature)

NIH abandons controversial plan to cap grants to big labs, creates new fund for younger scientists (Science)

NIH to shift $1.1 billion to younger researchers (SF Chronicle)

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