June 21st, 2017
On June 8, Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the agency was tabling immediate implementation of its recently proposed Grant Support Index (GSI) in favor of launching the Next Generation Researchers Initiative.
Originally, NIH had proposed the GSI as a strategy for limiting the total NIH grant support provided to individual principal investigators, thereby making more funds available to support awards for early and mid-career investigators. However, during recent presentations to various NIH Institutes’ and Centers’ advisory councils, NIH officials heard “significant concerns about the GSI methodology for assessing research impact.” In addition, concern was raised about the potential for the GSI cap to discourage team science, complex trials, and research networks, and to undermine support for infrastructure and training. Given the enormity of the issues the GSI proposal raised, NIH leadership set aside plans for implementing it in favor of pursuing a different approach to enhance support for early and mid-career investigators.
The Next Generation Researchers Initiative will initially free up $210 million (with the goal being $1.1 billion per year after five years) to support additional meritorious early-stage and mid-career investigators (defined as those with less than 10 years as a principal investigator who are about to lose all NIH funding or are seeking a second award for highly meritorious research). The initiative will track and assess funding decisions that NIH Institutes and Centers make for early and mid-career investigators with fundable scores to determine if a trans-NIH policy is warranted.
NIH developed a web page, to which the community can refer to follow the initiative’s development and implementation. Additionally, the public may submit comments on a regular basis via the NIH Office of Extramural Research home page or by sending an email to email@example.com.