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Getting Started as a New Investigator Anthony Carter, Ph.D. Program Director NIGMS/NIH/DHHS CarterA@nigms.nih.gov April 27, 2009 Who is a New Investigator? Has not previously served as PI on any PHS grant Exceptions: R00, R03, R15, R21 or mentored K awards

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Getting Started as a New Investigator

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Getting Started as a New Investigator

Anthony Carter, Ph.D.

Program Director

NIGMS/NIH/DHHS

CarterA@nigms.nih.gov

April 27, 2009


Who is a New Investigator?

  • Has not previously served as PI on any PHS grant

    • Exceptions: R00, R03, R15, R21 or mentored K awards

  • Recipient of Independent Scientist or other non-mentored career award is not new investigator

    grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/index.htm


Early Stage Investigators (ESI)New for 2009 NOT-OD-09-021

  • Meets definition of New Investigator

  • Within 10 years of completion of terminal research degree or medical residency

  • Must update eRA Commons profile

    Extension of ESI Status can be considered when there has been a lapse in research or research training


Good Grantsmanship, like research, involves teamwork

  • Investigators conducting the research

  • Officials at your home institution

  • NIH staff


Good Grantsmanship requires good preparation

At your home institution

  • Refine your thinking with your mentor(s)

  • Get outside opinions as you proceed

    • Seek a critical evaluation

  • Show draft a colleague outside your field

    • He/she should understand what you intend

    • If not, reviewers may not understand either

  • Leave enough time to revise your draft!


Some Homework before Contacting NIH Staff

  • Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) report.nih.gov/index.aspx

  • Check NIH Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) crisp.cit.nih.gov/crisp/crisp_query.generate_screen

  • Check NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html

  • Check web information for the relevant Institute or Center – e.g. www.nigms.nih.gov/

  • Identify Appropriate Staff Contacts – e.g. “About NIGMS”


Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) report.nih.gov/index.aspx


CRISP crisp.cit.nih.gov/crisp/crisp_query.generate_screen

  • Searchable database of federally supported biomedical research

  • Analyze current Institute portfolio

    • Areas with few funded projects

    • Research areas already well funded

  • Locate experienced NIH funded investigators in your area of interest

    • Potential mentors/collaborators

  • Due to be replaced by RePORTER in 2009


Coming in 2009RePORT Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) system


NIH GUIDE for Grants and Contracts

  • Official notification of NIH policies, notices and availability of funds

  • Contains all PAs, RFAs, RFPs and other solicitations

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html

  • Sign up on-line to receive weekly NIH Guide publication


Identifying Staff Contacts – About NIGMS


The NIH Extramural Team

Grants

Management

Review

Program


When Preparing an Application the Program Officer is an Important Contact

  • Call early … and often!

  • Helps to match your scientific interests with mission of NIH Institute

  • Can provide information about special initiatives

  • Suggests appropriate grant mechanism(s)

  • Provides guidance in application preparation

  • Helps to navigate peer review process


First Contact with the Program Officer

  • Scientific meetings

  • E-mail

    • Draft of abstract or specific aims

    • Phone number

    • Biosketch, if applying for F32 or K award

  • Telephone


Typical Questions for the Program Officer

  • Is my project appropriate for your Institute?

  • Is my project appropriate for this PA (or RFA)?

  • Do you accept small grant (R03 or R21) applications?

  • Should I ask for a dual assignment?

  • What is your payline?


“I do not have much preliminary data.”

Should I start with a small grant and work up to an R01?


Research Career Development Timetable

Career Stage

Support Mechanism

GRADUATE/

MEDICAL

STUDENT

Predoctoral Training Awards: F30, F31, T32

Postdoctoral Training Awards: F32, T32

POST

DOCTORAL

Mentored Career Development Awards:

K01, K08, K22, K23, K25, K99/R00

Small Grant: R03

EARLY

Exploratory/Developmental Grant: R21

New Innovator Award: DP2

Research Project Grant: R01, EUREKA, R15

CAREER

Independent Scientist Award: K02

MIDDLE

Midcareer Investigator Awards: K24, K26

Pioneer Award: DP1

SENIOR

Senior Scientist Award: K05


NIH Mechanisms of Special Interest to New Investigators

  • K awards (K01, K08, K22, K23, K25,K99/R00)

  • Small grant (R03)

  • Exploratory/developmental grant (R21)

  • Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15)

  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2)

  • Researchproject grant (R01)


Mentored Career Development Awards (mK)

  • K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development

  • K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development

  • K22 Research Career Award for Transition to Independence

  • K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Development

  • K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Development

  • K99/R00 Pathway to Independence

    grants.nih.gov/training/careerdevelopmentawards.htm


Small Research Grant Program (R03)

  • Support for small research projects

  • Up to 2 years and $50K per year

  • Not all ICs support this mechanism

  • PA-06-180

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-06-180.html

    grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r03.htm


Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21)

  • Foster the introduction of novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies

  • Break new ground or extend previous discoveries toward new directions or applications

  • Up to 2 years and $275K total direct costs

  • PA 06-181

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-06-181.html

    grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/r21.htm


Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15)

  • Small-scale health-related research projects at eligible domestic institutions

  • $150K total direct costs for up to 3 years

  • PA 06-042

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-06-042.html

    grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/area.htm

    Recovery Act Limited Competition: Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15) grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-OD-09-007.html


NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2)

  • New investigators of exceptional creativity

  • Bold and highly innovative new research approaches

  • Up to $300,000/yr for 5 years

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-09-013.html#PartI

    grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-09-003.html

    Reissued yearly


“I am not quite ready for an R01, but I can not find an appropriate grant at NIH.”

Do not overlook support from other agencies

  • Federal agencies – e.g. NSF

  • State and Local sources

  • Private foundations


When the Application is Received by the Center for Scientific Review

The application

  • Receives an Institute/Center (IC) assignment

    • You can make suggestions

  • Receives a Study Section assignment

    • You can make suggestions


From receipt of the application until the review is completed

The Scientific Review Officer (SRO) is an important contact.

  • Manages the peer review process

  • Checks applications for completeness

  • Analyzes content

  • Recruits and assigns reviewers

  • Provides technical advice to applicant

    -- beforethe review


First Contact with the Scientific Review Officer

  • Scientific meetings

  • E-mail

    • Draft of abstract or specific aims

    • Phone number

    • Biosketch, if applying for F32 or K award

  • Telephone


Address Questions About the Review Process to the SRO

  • What scientific areas are covered by the study section?

  • What expertise is on the study section?

  • May I ask for a specific study section?

  • What happens if I have a conflict with someone on the study section?

  • May I submit an update after the application is submitted?


Are New Investigators given special consideration during the review?


General Considerations when Reviewing New Investigator R01s

  • Keep in mind the experience of PI and resources available

  • More emphasis on demonstrating feasibility than on preliminary data

  • More emphasis on training and potential of PI

  • Evaluate evidence of institutional commitment


Grant Application Tips for New Investigators grants.nih.gov/grants/grant_tips.htm


What Makes a Great Idea?

  • Does it address an important problem?

  • Will scientific knowledge be advanced? Will this work drive the field forward?

  • And especially for new investigators …

    … Is it feasible for you to do?

  • Engage collaborators that complement your expertise and training


Good Presentation

  • Provide a well-focused research plan

  • Keep specific aims simple

  • Link hypotheses to specific aims

  • Link methods to each specific aim

  • Stay on the main theme

  • Use timelines and conceptual models


Good Presentation

  • Be realistic … not overly ambitious

  • Be self-critical. Discuss potential problems

  • Discuss alternative interpretations and possible solutions

    • Explain rationale for your decisions

  • Reviewers cannot read your mind …

    Don’t assume they know what you intend


Coming Summer 2009Enhanced Peer Review

  • 9 point scale scoring system

  • Scores for each criterion

  • Enhanced review criteria

  • Formatted reviewer critiques

  • Percentile rankings will be calculated new

  • Preliminary impact score will determine which applications are discussed

  • Clustering of New Investigator applications during review


New 2009 Reviewer Critique Template

Application #: 1R01HL123456-01

Principal Investigator(s): Doe, Jane

Overall Impact

Scored Review Criteria

Additional Review Criteria

The following review criteria are not scored individually, but should be considered when determining the overall impact/priority score


After the Study Section Review ...

  • Priority score/percentile within 3 working days – available through eRA Commons

  • SRA prepares the Summary Statement

  • National Advisory Council review

  • Final funding decisions


After the Study Section Review ...things you can do before Council

  • Wait for the Summary Statement

  • Read the Summary Statement carefully

  • Contact the program officer with questions about the review of your specific application


“Am I likely to be funded?”“Should I revise and resubmit?”

Contact your program officer

  • May provide additional insights regarding the discussion at the study section

  • Discusses summary statement

    • Understanding the written reviews

    • Responding to reviewer concerns

    • Revising and resubmitting


Shortened Review Cycle for New Investigators

grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-07-083.html


Are New Investigators given special consideration in funding decisions?

NHLBI, as an example:

  • Separate payline for ESI and New PIs that is 5 percentile points above the regular RPG payline (FY 2009)

  • ESI applications >5 but ≤10 percentile points above the regular R01 payline may undergo an expedited review to resolve comments in the summary statement

  • Funds new investigators for all years recommended

  • Separate payline for ESI first renewal applications that are 5 percentile points above the regular RPG payline (FY 2009)

    nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/training/redbook/newinvest.htm


Are New Investigators given special consideration in funding decisions?

NIGMS, as an example:

  • New Investigator status is a criterion for funding decisions

  • Staff are encouraged to identify and give special consideration

  • R01 grants can be awarded for 5 years (instead of 4)

    grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/institute_center_practices.htm


If funding seems likely

  • Just-in-Time information

  • Human subjects

  • Animal welfare

  • Budget

  • Administrative requirements

Consult with program officer and/or grants management officer on key issues:


Grants Management Officer

  • Only NIH official authorized to obligate funds or establish terms and conditions of award

  • Assures that applications meet all administrative requirements prior to award

  • Assures compliance with Federal laws and NIH policies and procedures

  • Reviews and responds to grantee requests that require prior approval

  • Responsible for official grant files


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