In response to a September 2009 town hall meeting at which NIH Director Francis Collins pledged to maintain a “wide-open” dialogue with agency constituents, FASEB submitted a statement to NIH regarding balance and optimization of the agency portfolio, focusing on three major issues.
First, FASEB urged NIH to stimulate innovation in the biomedical research enterprise through the sustained support of science and scientists and emphasized that higher paylines and success rates allow investigators and study sections to take more risks.
Second, the statement highlighted how the percentage of the NIH budget for Research Project Grants and R01 awards has declined and requested an explanation for how the agency will address that issue in the future. FASEB also noted that since the end of the NIH budget doubling in 2003, the actual number of R01 awards has fallen 7.4 percent (from 28,743 to 26,621).
Finally, FASEB recommended that NIH enhance investigator-initiated research across the full spectrum of basic, translational and clinical research and that it resist calls for redistribution of funding resources unless there are appropriate increases in the budget.
*Tyrone Spady of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs contributed to this article.
Carrie D. Wolinetz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of scientific affairs and public relations for the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB.