NIH's long sordid history of failing to launch new investigators fairly and cleanly

May 03 2018 Published by under Fixing the NIH, NIH, NIH Careerism

Actually, they call it "A History of Commitment"

It starts with the launch of the R23 in 1977, covers the invention and elimination of the R29 FIRST and goes all the way to the 2017 announcement that prior ESI still need help, this time for their second and third rounds of funding as "Early Established Investigators".


Updated to add:
Mike Lauer is wringing his hands on the blog about The Issue that (allegedly) keeps us (NIH officialdom) awake at night [needs citation].

We pledge to do everything we can to incorporate those recommendations, along with those of the NASEM panel, in our ongoing efforts to design, test, implement, and evaluate policies that will assure the success of the next generation of talented biomedical researchers.

5 responses so far

  • Thorazine says:

    You're so negative! This timeline is full of exciting high points in NI support, like:

    "November, 1998 – The NIH created a check box on the face page of the NIH grant application to identify R01 applications submitted by New Investigators."

    More seriously - I'm a little curious about how the early NI programs, like R23 and FIRST, compared with typical R01's at those times. "NIRA awards (R23) had direct cost amounts up to $35,000 for up to three years" sounds like insulting chump change now, but was it seen that way in 1977? And how was the three-year limit perceived?

  • A Salty Scientist says:

    First google inflation calculator hit shows that $35,000 in 1977 is worth almost $150,000 today. So probably seen as a decent grant at the time? That's in the ballpark of many private foundation grants that support junior PIs. I know DM has mentioned this many times, but ouch on the modular grant--$250,000 in 1999 is worth ~$375,000 today.

  • Microscientist says:

    I attended the NIH regional seminar where Mike Lauer gave the opening keynote. It was about all the things you and DataHound have been calling out. The issues of reducing buying power, too many mouths, and how hard it to get that first grant. The grand take away was "We are aware there is a problem." I got the sense that they might be scared that too many people will give up and they will take all the blame. No real possible solution unless Congress starts handing over wads of cash.
    Given that this was the very first presentation, the mental sad trombones was not the best way to kick things off!

  • drugmonkey says:

    Why is it not a “real possible solution” to reduce demand?

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