Join the NIH for the “Transforming Diversity in Research Training” Interactive Sessions

The NIH Common Fund’s “Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce” program seeks innovative and transformative approaches to student engagement, training and mentoring. The overarching goal of the program is to recruit the best and brightest minds from all sectors of the population into biomedical research careers and foster their development into independent scientists.

To that end, the NIH is planning a series of interactive sessions to allow potential applicants for the BUILD, NRMN and CEC initiatives, and other interested parties, to network and exchange ideas. NIH staff and session participants will explore innovative and creative strategies to engage a diverse student pool in the early phases of biomedical research training, sustain their interest, and enable success at each career phase.

The NIH is planning the following sessions:

  • Wednesday, October 2, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.: San Antonio, Texas (in association with the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Annual Meeting)*
  • Saturday, November 2, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Arlington, Virginia (in association with the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring Annual Meeting)*
  • Friday, November 8, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Sacramento, California
  • Wednesday, November 13, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Nashville, Tennessee (in association with the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS))*

* Note: You do NOT need to be registered to attend the associated meetings in order to participate in the NIH sessions.

There is no fee for attendees but pre-registration is requested. For more information and to register, visit Additional meeting information will be provided as it becomes available.

Can’t join the discussion in person? The NIH will open an online discussion forum in the coming months. Subscribe to the NIH Common Fund email list to receive updates or visit the Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce website.

For information specific to the BUILD, NRMN and CEC initiatives, the NIH is also planning a technical webinar to review upcoming Funding Opportunity Announcements once they are published. Continue to visit the Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce website for more information and a registration link.

NIH Hosts Oral Health Disparities Seminar

Dr. Peter Milgrom

**8/20 Update of Previous Post** On Thursday, August 15th, the National Institutes of Health hosted a seminar on oral health disparities. The event featured Dr. Peter Milgrom, Director of the University of Washington’s Northwest Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities. For those unable to attend, a video cast will soon be available in the NIH video archives and on the NIMHD website.

Reducing Disparities in Mother and Child Oral Health: Research Needed to Meet Healthy People 2020 Goals Continue reading

Senate Subcommittee Pushes $31B for NIH in FY14

Sen. Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the panel, described the bill as making critical investments in education and health

Yesterday, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations approved a FY14 spending bill that includes $30.955 billion for the National Institutes of Health. The figure would put the NIH budget 1% above its pre-sequester (FY12) level. The allocation includes $40 million that President Obama requested for the BRAIN initiative. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is provided $409.9 million in the bill, which would represent level funding with FY13 -if not for the 5% reduction this year due to the sequester. Despite this encouraging step, NIH and most of the other discretionary items in the federal budget will be under considerable threat during the remainder of the FY14 appropriations process. The Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations was able to provide NIH and other line-items a boost largely because it is operating with considerably higher top-line budget number, as compared with its House counterpart. The Senate Appropriations Chair, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), advanced top-line budget numbers for the various appropriations subcommittees/bills that assume a replacement to sequestration will be adopted. To say that is a big assumption would be a considerable understatement. Republicans in the Senate have pledged to block floor consideration of any of the FY14 appropriations bills, as they violate current spending caps that sequestration is helping to achieve. Continue reading

Student Researchers Call for Federal Science Funding

On June 1st, the organization with over 10,000 graduate students known as Stand With Science (SWS) published an op-ed in The Journal of Science Policy & Governance, highlighting the need student engagement and advocacy for the protection of science funding.  Following an explanation of the sequester and its impact to the R&D industry as a whole, SWS discusses funding cuts that impact the student community:  “We as graduate students must be concerned about cuts to all science funding, as all cuts to science are cuts to our future livelihoods as much as they are cuts to our nation’s competitiveness.” They follow with a subsequent call to action to the research community as a whole:  “We believe the roll of the scientist should not be limited to the laboratory, and that [we] have a responsibility to contribute to important policy debates concerning science and science funding.”

See the article here.

IOM Reports on Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program

Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report — requested by NIH at the urging of Congress — on the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program. The IOM found that the CTSAs are making considerable contributions to the advancement of clinical and translational research, helping to bridge the so-called “valley of death,” and made seven recommendations to build on success, including the following:

  1. Strengthen NCATS leadership/oversight of the CTSA Program
  2. Reconfigure and streamline the CTSA Consortium
  3. Build on the strengths of individual CTSAs across the spectrum of clinical and translational research
  4. Formalize and standardize evaluation processes for individual CTSAs and the CTSA Program
  5. Advance innovation in education and training programs
  6. Ensure community engagement in all phases of research
  7. Strengthen clinical and translational research relevant to child health

Dr. Christopher Austin, Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which administers the CTSAs, issued a statement that fully endorsed the recommendations and set a path for implementation.

IOM Report Brief

IOM Full Report Download Portal

UMR Analyzes Investments Generated by Human Genome Project

On Wednesday, United for Medical Research (UMR) released an updated study on the economic impact of the success of and investments made in the Human Genome Project (HGP). During the 13 year span of the HGP, the federal government, spearheaded by the NIH and Department of Energy, allocated the equivalent of $14.5 billion in 2012 inflation adjusted dollars towards direct and genomic research. The total economic impact from 1988 through to 2012 calculated by UMR equals $965 billion, with a calculated 65:1 return on investment. In addition, 277,361 jobs were created by the HGP, including 47,300 in the private sector. The study also points out that over $6.1 billion have been generated in federal, state, and local taxes in 2012.

NIH Data Catalog RFI Published

In an attempt to improve accessibility and citation of biomedical research data and grants, the NIH is asking the scientific community for input.  As part of the NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative, it seeks to improve large information management for future use through input received from a request for information (RFI).  In the RFI, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) posed the idea of developing a data catalog specifically for biomedical research, similar to the NIH’s PubMed system for scientific publications.  The vision is for the data catalog is for it to be different than a data repository in that it would improve searching, citation, and consistency as well as create links to the actual data location, grant, publications, and software used.

Find the link to the actual RFI here. The deadline for comment is June 25th.

NIH Releases Fact Sheet Outlining Impacts of Sequestration

On Monday, the NIH released a fact sheet outlining the impact of the sequestration on its operations and plans for FY2013.  The sequester, initiated on March 1, 2013, requires that the NIH slash its FY2013 budget by either 5% or $1.55 billion.  These budgetary changes will be applied across all 27 Institutes and Centers of the NIH, significantly affecting every aspect of medical research, including that of the NIDCR.

The major numbers projected to change due to the sequester, outlined by the fact sheet, are staggering.  Specifically, the NIH estimates that there will be approximately 700 fewer competitive research project grants awarded, taking application funding rates down to one in six submissions.  There will also be a significant defunding of grants for existing noncompeting research projects, with an NIH average decrease by 4.7%.  Similarly, recipients of the National Research Service Award will see stagnation in their stipends for the budgetary year, further de-incentivizing proposals. Continue reading