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NIH Extramural News - May 2018

May 2018  

Open Mike

The Issue that Keeps Us Awake at Night

Posted on May 4, 2018 by Michael Lauer and Francis Collins

The most important resource for the successful future of biomedical research is not buildings, instruments, or new technologies – it’s the scientists doing the work. But by now, it’s no longer news that biomedical researchers are stressed – stressed by a hypercompetitive environment that’s particularly destructive for early- and mid-career investigators. But those are the researchers who, if we don’t lose them, will comprise the next generation of leaders and visionaries. Almost 10 years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) took steps to improve funding opportunities for “early stage investigators”, those who were 10 years or less from their terminal research degree or clinical training. Those steps helped, but many stakeholders have concluded that more is needed. Continue reading

NIH Announces Stipend and Benefit Increases for National Research Service Award Recipients

Posted on May 16, 2018 by Mike Lauer

We are pleased to announce that stipends will be increased for those supported by Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs). As a result, approximately 15,000 NRSA training grant appointees and fellows spanning career stages from undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers will receive a two percent stipend increase for Fiscal Year 2018. Please see the recently released NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-18-175 for the specific new stipend levels. Continue reading 


Wait…It’s Not MY Grant?

Posted on May 29, 2018 by Mike Lauer

Remembering back to my days as a PI, I can recall myself saying something like “yea, on my NIH grant…” when discussing my research. This may have been okay over coffee, but it is technically incorrect. We hear this confusion a lot. So, we thought it would be worthwhile to remind you about some of the respective roles of institutions and investigators working on an NIH award. Continue reading 

Open Mike Perspective: Healthy Skepticism when Focusing Solely on Surrogate Endpoints in Clinical Research

Posted on May 3, 2018 by Mike Lauer

I recently wrote an essay for the NIH’s Science, Health, and Public Trust series to encourage a healthy bit of skepticism about clinical studies that solely involve surrogate end-points (e.g. changes in “biomarkers” like blood cholesterol levels or findings on an electrocardiogram). Continue reading 

Top Stories

NIH Fiscal Policies in Effect for Fiscal Year 2018

NIH has issued policy that details FY 2018 funding levels, NRSA stipend levels, how we are prioritizing applications from early stage investigator (ESI) principal investigators, 2018 salary limits, and more. Continue reading 

Changing the Status of a PD/PI: Reminder of the NIH Prior Approval Policy

Have you wondered what happens when a program director/principal investigator PD/PI) is no longer available to serve on an NIH grant? Maybe they have accepted a position at another institution? Or perhaps they are unable to carry out their duties for some other reason? NIH recently issued a Guide Notice (NOT-OD-18-172) to remind the community about the NIH’s prior approval policy requirements when an institution seeks to change the status of a PI or other senior/key personnel as designated in the Notice of Award. This Notice also helps clarify the situations in which NIH’s prior approval is required. Continue reading 

Working with Human Subjects? New Human Subjects System Replaces NIH’s Inclusion Management System

On June 9, 2018 a new Human Subjects System will replace the Inclusion Management System (IMS) currently used for reporting participant sex/gender, race, and ethnicity information for NIH grants. The new system consolidates human subject information submitted in applications and progress reports and will be used for all human subject-related post-submission updates as of its release.Continue reading 


Now Available: Delegate Tasks When Working on Interim or Final RPPRs

The interim Research Performance Progress Report (I-RPPR) and final RPPR (F-RPPR) are submitted online through eRA Commons in the same format as the annual RPPR.  We’ve often been asked if working on I-RPPR and/or F-RPPR be delegated to an Assistant …Continue reading 

Reach Out to NIH Staff – We’re Here to Help

We had the pleasure of interacting with over 900 applicants and grantees at last week’s NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration in Washington, DC. A recurring theme in many presentations was the importance of reaching out to …Continue reading 

Register Early & Save for Fall 2018 NIH Regional Seminar in San Francisco, CA

Could you benefit from learning more about applying to NIH and our policies, processes, and resources?  Do you know colleagues, whether they be faculty, research administrators or trainees at your institution who might also benefit?  If so, then spread the word about the NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration taking place in San Francisco, California – October 17 -19, 2018.  Register by June 22 and save while Early Registration rates are still available.  Continue reading 

New Podcast: Data Privacy, Access, and Security of the Personal Data NIH Collects on Grantees, Applicants, Investigators, and Trainees

NIH takes the security and privacy of data of people supported by NIH grants seriously. Some of this information is made public if we make an award—such as name and contact information. Other data is protected by the Privacy Act.  If you have ever wondered how NIH protects these data, then take a few minutes and listen to the discussion on a newAll About Grants podcast (MP3 / Transcript).