The strategies for sustaining a vibrant biomedical research enterprise are complex and multi-faceted. NIH strives to support not only the biomedical research workforce, but to support the foundation of research programs that our workforce has created.
An important issue for NIH is the long term success for the research we support. Over the years, NIH has been persistent and creative in efforts to support early career investigators through policy changes and new programs. But we must also consider the needs of our mid-career investigators and how NIH can assist with the continuation of their well-established research programs, since evidence has shown that the most innovative and productive years of work come from PIs in the 40-59 year old age range. While these highly productive investigators are happy pursuing their research questions in the laboratory, current funding stresses have hindered the current generation relative to past generations of mid-career scientist. Our most vibrant investigators have invested their careers to establish the intellectual and technical infrastructure needed to pursue their research questions, and it is in our interest to facilitate progress in their established programs.
Yes, I agree! Totally true.
Therefore, NIH would like to explore potential mechanisms to facilitate the needs of the most productive members of our biomedical workforce. We would like to gauge community interest in a new type of award that could allow established investigators to maximize their output under funding from NIH research grants, while greatly advancing our scientific knowledge and resources. Such an award could permit an established investigator to form partnerships with other faculty members in order to facilitate research inquiry in an efficient and cost-effective way under P-mechanisms as with prior generations. The established investigator would, of course, be expected to train and equip junior colleagues to contribute to mutual interests and research projects while working with them in a mentoring role. If such a collaboration is not feasible, a mid-career award might allow some established investigators to complete expansive projects within their own laboratories.
Wow. Really good stuff here NIH. Glad to see you finally recognizing what brung ya and what you need to bring to the race to keep on winning.
Request for Information This Request for Information (RFI) seeks input from the research community, including scientists from all career stages; research administration professionals; departmental chairs; deans; professional societies; and other interested stakeholders. Public comment is sought for the following:
- Community interest in an award that allows a mid-career investigator to flourish without being dependent on submitting so many NIH research grant applications
- Ideas for how one would utilize a mid-career award (e.g., to facilitate laboratory sustainability; to promote novel research inquiry; to provide opportunities for expansion of larger collaborative research projects)
- Suggestions for the specific characteristics for a mid-career award (e.g., number of years of support; amount of support; mechanisms of evaluation)
- Ways in which NIH could incentivize the use of a mid-career award, from the perspectives of both mid-career investigators and institutions
- Impediments to the participation in such an award program, from the perspectives of both mid career investigators and institutions
- Any additional comments you would like to offer to NIH on this topic
Oh, for sure. I'm going to run, not walk, right on over to the form to submit my approval.
This is for EMERITUS faculty? Such as those past the age of 65 who keep on submitting copious numbers of research grants? And the NIH wants to somehow use this to persuade the unwilling* to wind down their lab in good order?
What a disaster.
*This mechanism for winding down a PI's career while sustaining his** "legacy" laboratory and program already exists and is in current practice. A senior PI simply steps down from the PI position and the University nominates a junior person to take over. Maybe with continued Co-investigator status for the Emeritizing person. It works to serve this goal. It is proven.
**yeah, "his". that's who these people are. For the most part.