NIH 101: Part 2 Types of Awards Laurie Tompkins Swarthmore College May 14, 2012
Institutions represented here: • Fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2012) • Drexel: 248 applications and awards (ongoing and new), R01s and many other types • Others: 20 applications and awards (ongoing and new), mostly R15s
R15 • Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) • Research grants for investigators at institutions that do not have a lot of NIH funding • Term up to three years, direct costs requested up to $300K for entire project period • Three application deadlines a year, can be revised and resubmitted (once) or renewed
R15s are competitive • FY11: 1554 R15 applications submitted, 218 R15 applications funded (14%) • Percent funded used to be higher • Why? More institutions eligible, could request more money • Consequence: more R15 applications, requesting more money • Funds allotted to NIH institutes to fund R15s have not increased • Institutes using different strategies to try to fund more R15s (e.g., budget cuts, transfer of funds from R01 pot)
How can I increase the probability that my R15 will be funded? • Focus is primarily on the research project, NOT on undergraduate education • Research project must be 21st century (addressing important question, using modern approaches) • If you don’t have the expertise or equipment required, collaborate with someone who does • Scope should be appropriate for types of personnel and time available to work on project • Publications important, but productivity may be slower, in comparison to research-intensive institution
Personnel on R15s • Need not be undergraduates (at some R15-eligible institutions, no undergrads or not many) • If undergrads involved, they should be actively involved in the experiments. Very difficult techniques or complex analyses may require personnel farther along career ladder. • Track record for involving undergraduates in research (publications, presentations, awards) desirable. New faculty members should consider enlisting co-mentor at institution.
Institutional commitment: R15s • Reduced teaching load, support for attendance at scientific conferences, frequent sabbaticals for PIs • Housing (summer students), course credit/awards for independent research, seminar series for students doing research • Institutional track record for students doing independent research, no matter what the funding source is, important to cite
Bottom line: R15 applications • Research project paramount (well-trained PI who has opportunities to keep up to date and to collaborate, if necessary) • If students involved, they should be doing real research and get support from experienced mentor and institution • Strut your stuff! Institutions with several faculty members doing high-quality research and lots of students involved in research, no matter where the funding comes from, are best environments for R15-funded projects.
R01 • “Regular research grant” • Most common type of award at NIH; ca. half of all awards are R01s. • FY11, 32,599 R01 applications, 5380 funded (16.5%; higher than R15) • Up to 5 years; theoretically no limit on requested direct costs (consult with program) • Can apply for R01 if institution is AREA-eligible (Should you? Depends on scope of project, resources, time, anticipated productivity. New investigators who were productive as postdocs should consider it.)
R01 applications: general • Three application deadlines a year • Most R01s reviewed in CSR study sections • R01s can be revised and resubmitted (once), or renewed • A PI can have multiple R01s at the same time (not true for R15s) • Multiple PIs common (about one in six applications). • Collaborations common (almost all applications)
R01 applications: budget and term • New PIs usually get five year awards; some institutes have their own criteria for “new” (ask program) • Terms for experienced investigators vary (ask program) • Budget cuts? Institutes vary (ask program). Budget cuts likely to be more common as federal government spending decreases.
R21 • Smaller grants for “exploratory, possibly risky” research • Risk is subjective; NIH currently reviewing R21 language and purpose • Two years, $275K over project period limits • Most but not all NIH institutes accept “unsolicited” (not in response to special initiative) R21s. NIGMS does not. • Three application deadlines a year; most applications reviewed in CSR study sections. • Talk to program; every institute that accepts R21s handles them differently.
R03 • Very small grants for pilot projects and technology development • Two years/$100K over project period limits • Only 11 institutes accept R03 applications (NIGMS doesn’t, even for special initiatives) • Most reviewed in CSR study sections • Generally not renewable • Probably not application of choice unless you have a pilot or tech development project that you can do on $100K over two years • Definitely consult with program before you submit.
Other types of research grants and small center grants • Wide variety (close to 40) • Types of institutions: small businesses, small business-academic collaborations, minority-serving institutions • Activities: support of research, resource development and dissemination, resources, conferences, education, planning (for larger center grants) • Investigators: new (R00), experienced and distinguished (MERIT awards, extensions) • Innovation: Transformative Research Award, New Innovator, Early Independence, Pioneer (Common Fund, NIH Director’s Office)
Training: for individuals • Fellowships for graduate students (F31), postdocs (F32), MD-PhD candidates, and faculty on sabbatical (F33) • All fellowships are “F” • Unusual: Fs are awarded to individuals (the trainee), not to institution. If a postdoc moves, may be able to take fellowship. • F31s mostly for URM and neuroscience • Institutes vary (what F applications they accept, how many funded); consult program.
Tips for success: F32s • Candidate (the postdoc) should be early in postdoctoral career. • Publications, for candidate, are a MUST. • Really lousy grades a problem. Need not be straight As. • Research plan matters, but quality of candidate and training potential are equally important. • Training potential = learning new things (system, techniques, etc.). If you’re doing what you did in grad school, in a different lab, probably shouldn’t bother applying. • What you’re doing as a postdoc should mesh with your career goals. • Second postdoc OK if good training potential. Many years as postdoc, or lots of them, especially on unrelated topics, is problematic. • 3 year limit on NRSA postdoctoral support from all sources (postdoctoral training grants, multiple F32s)
Tips for success: F32s • Sponsor should write individualized training/mentoring plan for candidate. • If the candidate is your first postdoc, enlist an experienced co-mentor. • Work with candidate on research plan, but don’t copy from your own grant application. Candidate should have some input. • Sponsor should have funding (not necessarily R01). F32 doesn’t cover supplies, equipment, etc.
F33s: senior fellowships • Mostly used to support faculty on sabbatical leaves. • Far fewer awarded than F32s. • Institute policies vary (acceptance of F33s, what types of leave are eligible, how funding decisions are made). Consult with program, before submitting application, is a must. • NIGMS only funds F33 if the candidate is making a radical career change. Standard sabbatical experience in colleague’s lab is not eligible.
Mentored career awards for individuals • K awards: almost 40 types • Each NIH institute accepts just a few types of K applications. Do your homework before you apply. • Ks for different career stages (trainee, independent scientist or clinician, senior scientist), different terminal degrees (medical vs. PhD), different purposes.
Do your homework: K Kiosk • http://grant.nih.gov/training/careerdevelopmentawards.htm • Institute funding (which Ks?) • Career Wizard: which K is best for you? • Links to funding opportunity announcements
OppNet • Basic behavioral and social science Opportunity Network • Trans-NIH consortium, mostly focused on human behavior and social science • Wide variety of special initiatives, including R01s, R21s, R13s (conferences), R25s (short courses), K18s. More coming… • http://oppnet.nih.gov/index.asp • Website includes background, list of funded OppNet projects, links to active funding opportunity initiatives.