Blog Archives

NIH Announces New Next Generation Researchers Policy

On August 31, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new policy aimed at increasing the number of early career investigators competing successfully for NIH grants. The Policy Supporting the Next Generation Researchers Initiative implements Section 2021 of the 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in late 2016, which calls for the agency to prioritize investment in the next generation of biomedical researchers.

The Next Generation Researchers Policy sets two new definitions of early career investigators: Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) and Early Established Investigators (EEIs). Early Stage Investigators are defined as a “program director/principal investigator who has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully… for a substantial NIH independent research award.” An Early Established Investigator is a “program director/principal investigator who is within 10 years of receiving their first substantial, independent competing NIH R01-equivelent research award as an ESI.” Funding will be prioritized for an EEI if “(1) The EEI lost or is at risk for losing all NIH research support if not funded by competing awards this year, or (2) The EEI is supported by only one active award.”

The new policy will take effect this year (fiscal year 2017), with a goal of funding approximately 200 more ESI and EEI researchers (each) than were supported in FY 2016. Individual institute and center (IC) directors are tasked with determining how best to re-prioritize funding to enable these investments this year. A working group of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), which advises the NIH Director, has been established to monitor the implementation of the new policy.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 5), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies Requests Input on Two Higher Education and Workforce Studies

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Higher Education and Workforce is requesting input for its consensus studies on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century and the Next Generation Researchers Initiative. The Committee on Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century Workforce is inviting comments and reactions on previously received input on competencies and core educational elements for Masters and PhD programs. The opportunity to provide input is open until September 22, 2017. The Committee on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative is requesting input on the barriers that members of the next generation of biomedical and behavioral researchers may face as they develop their independent research careers. The opportunity to provide input to the Committee on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative is open until October 1, 2017.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 5), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NIH-Supported Dissemination and Implementation Research Training Institute Seeks Applications

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is supporting a training institute designed to provide participants with a “thorough grounding in conducting D&I [dissemination and implementation] research in health across all areas of health and health care.” The Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH) is open to investigators at any career stage interested in conducting D&I research. The training will be conducted both online and a during two-day in-person training session in Bethesda, MD, from August 14 through December 1, 2017. Applications are due June 21, 2017.  For more information, see the program website.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

National Academies to Host Workshop on Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

 The National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) is hosting a two-day workshop on Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences on June 8 and 9. The workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and will analyze the current employment of PhDs in the social and behavioral sciences, the future of the social and behavioral science workforce, and other relevant topics. A tentative agenda can be found hereRegister today.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

SBM Hosts NIH Good Clinical Practice for Social and Behavioral Research Training Course

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), a COSSA member, is hosting a free National Institutes of Health (NIH) training and certification course for good clinical practice in behavioral and social science research at the request of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, developed the training material which is comprised of nine video modules.

As previously reported, all NIH-funded investigators and staff who are involved in applying for, conducting, overseeing, or managing clinical trials are required, effective January 1, 2017, to have training in good clinical practice.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

NIGMS Analyzes RFI Response on Modernizing Biomedical Graduate Education

On November 2, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared its analysis of the input it received from the scientific community in response to a June 2016 request for information (RFI) (NOT-GM-16-109) on how to “catalyze the modernization of biomedical graduate education through NIGMS’s institutional predoctoral training program.” According to NIGMS, the comments received addressed 28 themes and fell into five categories: institutional and training-related issues, skills development, systemic issues within the research enterprise, careers, and administrative and review issues. The feedback around the issue of diversity and the role of institutional climate, one of the themes, included concern regarding the lack of diversity and the fact that it “…continues to be an alarming problem in biomedical research. Given our changing demographics, this is no longer a ‘minority problem,’ but rather a national emergency.” Another theme cited was the “strong support for interdisciplinary training in Ph.D. programs.” Additional details about the analysis can be found in the report.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 15), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

2017 National Academies Workshop on Current and Future Training Needs in Social and Behavioral Sciences

In an August 31 blog post, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Director William Riley announced the convening of a 2017 National Academies workshop that is being sponsored by OBSSR and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate. The workshop will address the current and future training needs in the behavioral and social sciences and responds to the various reports in recent years that “indicate that a majority of behavioral and social sciences doctors are entering research careers in areas outside of the traditional academic research track; and even those going into academia face challenges initiating and maintaining a grant-supported research program.” Along with the “emerging technologies and big data efforts that are transforming the approaches and methods in the field, rethinking the graduate education of behavioral and social scientists is clearly needed,” Riley further noted. The OBSSR director shared that the project “has broad government support from the Social and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)” and has been identified as a “pressing need.” In addition, reexamining graduate training in social and behavioral sciences is a significant area of focus in the OBSSR’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020. Read Riley’s full blog post here.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 6), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NIGMS Releases 2015-2020 Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) recently released its 2015 -2020 strategic plan.  According to NIGMS director Jon Lorsch, the plan outlines the Institute’s priorities and activities, including “the goals, objectives and implementation strategies that the Institute—in partnership with the scientific community at universities, professional societies and other federal agencies—will engage in over the next five years.”  Additionally, the plan provides “snapshots” of specific institute priorities and achievements.

In his director’s message, Lorsch emphasizes that the Institute continues to place “great emphasis on supporting investigator-initiated research grants” and highlights NIGMS emphasis on “the critical importance of rigor, reproducibility and transparency in all biomedical pursuits.” He also underscores the Institute’s research training programs which recognize “the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical research… [and] emphasize experiences that cut across fields of inquiry.”  This includes the recognition of “a compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical research workforce.” Lorsch further emphasizes that NIGMS is “committed to galvanizing efforts to diversify the workforce by recruiting talented researchers from all groups and supporting quality educational and training environments in a wide variety of scientific areas.”

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 24), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NIH: BD2K Biomedical Science Training Coordination Center

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications for a coordination center designed to narrow the gap between the availability of biomedical big data and the ability of biomedical scientists to utilize such data accurately, effectively, and efficiently. The funding opportunity announcement, NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Biomedical Science Training Coordination Center (RFA-ES-15-004), responds to increasingly large, diverse, and complex biomedical datasets. These datasets tax conventional methods for sharing, managing, and analyzing data. Researchers’ abilities to capitalize on biomedical big data science-based approaches are limited by poor data accessibility and interoperability, the lack of appropriate tools, and insufficient training. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 13), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NIH: BD2K MOOC on Data Management for Biomedical Big Data

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications designed to develop an open, online educational course that complements and/or enhances the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. The funding opportunity announcement (FOA), NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative Research Education: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Data Management (RFA-LM-15-001), focuses on curriculum or methods development. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 13), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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