Shrinking pools of research funding, lower success rates, and increasing resource scarcity at research institutions strain most researchers, but new researchers have had a particularly difficult time securing funding of late and many have left the field as a result. The NIH has signaled awareness of these pressures, announcing in April changes to the biosketch form that benefit new researchers and the replacement of the onerous “one resubmission” rule with a more relaxed policy.
Today, Dr. Sally Rockey and Dr. Francis Collins announced that the NIH would allow its centers and programs to offer longer, sustained funding to researchers in the model of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) “people, not projects” funding model. Currently, the gold standard of NIH funding, the R01, offers on average 4.3 years of funding and is project based. Rockey and Collins’ joint post, Formula for Innovation: People + Ideas + Time, explains that this new program will give the NIH centers and program great latitude in implementing a sustainable funding model based not on projects but researchers.
I will of course follow developments in this blog, but I encourage researchers interested in this sustained funding to individually follow the centers and programs of interest to them, since the centers and programs will be acting individually in ways that best serve the development of their research portfolios.