Washington Update

NIGMS Director Highlights Uptake of MIRA Grant Mechanism, New Resources

By: Yvette Seger
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
During the recent meeting of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council, Jon Lorsch, PhD, Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), presented an update on the continued growth of the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA). Launched in fiscal year (FY) 2015, growth of the MIRA (R35) grant mechanism continues to be linear, supporting 54 percent of the institute’s R01-equivalent awardee pool in FY 2023. This growth is on track with the NIGMS strategic plan goal to have at least 60 percent of grantees supported by MIRA awards by 2025. Uptake of the MIRA mechanism is particularly impressive among early-stage investigators (ESIs), with 88 percent of the 313 ESIs funded by NIGMS supported by R35 MIRAs. Throughout the implementation of the MIRA program, NIGMS has carefully monitored demographics of applicants and awardees to minimize disparities. In his recent presentation to council members, Lorsch highlighted data indicating women and men do equally well in peer review in both the ESI and established investigator applicant pools.

Lorsch also highlighted new resources to help investigators navigate the grant application process. The “Which Grant Is Right for Me?” web resource provides a decision tree to help investigators new to National Institutes of Health identify funding opportunities most appropriate for their research. Similarly, the NIGMS Feedback Loop blog featured a series of posts outlining the institute’s research priorities, funding opportunities, and the grant application process.