FASEB Comments on NIGMS Proposal to Fund “Programs” Versus “Projects”

August 21, 2014

Bethesda, MD - The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) provided comments to the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) on a proposed funding mechanism that would provide financial support for an investigator’s entire research program rather than individual research projects. FASEB commended the willingness of NIGMS leadership to explore options that would reduce the amount of time spent by Principal Investigators (PIs) on preparation of grant applications and increase their availability to plan and conduct critical biological research. FASEB’s comments highlighted several points for the Institute to consider as it explores this option. Concerns included a perceived competitive advantage for established investigators, challenges in determining the level of grant support needed, and the potential risk of concentrating federal funds among a smaller number of researchers and research institutions.

“We appreciate NIGMS’s efforts to consider funding models that would reduce the time PIs spend writing grants and increase their ability to perform cutting-edge, basic biological research,” stated FASEB President, Joseph R. Haywood, PhD.  “However, we feel that it is important that NIGMS conduct a rigorous assessment of the pilot program prior to making a major commitment of funding to the proposed Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) mechanism.”

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