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Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award “ONES” Program Context NIH priority on nurturing and increasing the number of new investigators NIEHS priority on increasing the number of new investigators in environmental health sciences NIH “Pathways” Awards: K99/R00

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“ONES” Program

  • Context

    • NIH priority on nurturing and increasing the number of new investigators

    • NIEHS priority on increasing the number of new investigators in environmental health sciences


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NIH “Pathways” Awards: K99/R00

  • Goal: Provide an opportunity for promising postdoctoral scientists to receive both mentored and independent research from the same award


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NIEHS 2006-2011 Strategic PlanNew Frontiers in Environmental Sciences and Human Health


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GOAL VI:Recruit and train the next generation of environmental health scientists.Increase recruitment of talented students into environmental health sciences.Engage the broader biomedical community in environmental health


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In response, NIEHS has created the Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award!


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Who does this program target? Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award!

  • Highly selective for most talented new scientists

  • Long term commitment to Environmental Health Sciences research

  • < 8 years postdoctoral experience

  • Assistant, Research Asst. Prof.

  • Evidence of independent productivity and facilities

  • No prior R01 support

  • Research oriented towards specific human disease/dysfunction/ pathophysiologic condition or biological process and using environmentally-relevant toxicants


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What are the unique features? Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award!

  • Statement of Career Goals

  • Discussion of research experience and achievements

  • External Advisory Committee

  • Institutional Commitment to PI (minimum 80% research time)

  • Separate budget for equipment and career enhancement


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What do we mean by “commitment to environmental health research?”

  • Future Goals and Objectives Section

  • Research focus on human disease, defined impact in environmental health research

  • Minimum 50% commitment

  • Travel to NIEHS for research forums, seminars in years 3-5.

  • Research presentations to meetings with specific EHS focus


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What challenges have we faced? research?”

  • We are dealing with new investigators who need lots of “hand-holding” by staff

  • Staff must be consistent in interpretation of eligibility criteria

  • Review is complicated by virtue of the breadth of science proposed


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Review Challenge: Selection of Appropriate Reviewers research?”

Established, broad-thinking scientists (Directors, Deans, MDs and PhDs)

Involved in training and recruitment/ hiring of junior faculty

Committed to understanding and buy-in of goals set forth in the new NIEHS vision

Possessing appropriate scientific expertise for each application


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Review Challenges, cont’d. research?”

  • Selection of chairperson

  • Orientation of reviewers prior to and at meeting

  • Streamlining


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Post-review Interviews research?”

  • 70 applications/61 responsive/28 scored

  • Face-to-face interviews of top 10

    • Interview panel: Members of the National Advisory Council, institute deputy director, scientific director, extramural director, senior intramural and extramural staff

  • Impressions from the interviews


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Final Outcome of Review research?”

  • Council concurrence of all actions

  • 8 of top 10 chosen for funding

  • Meeting of grantees scheduled for October with objective of forming ties with NIEHS leadership, extramural and intramural staff


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Program areas represented in top 10 applications research?”

  • Neuroscience (1)

    • Ion Channel Function in Sensory Neurons

  • DNA Damage and Repair (3)

    • Roles of methyltransferases in DNA Damage Response

    • Telomeric DNA Loss and Repair

    • DNA Translesion sythesis by polymerase eta

  • Carcinogenesis (1)

    • Role of Nrf2 in Arsenic Induced Toxicity


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Program Applications (cont’d) research?”

  • Air Pollution (5)

    • Mortality and Morbidity effects of ozone

    • Mechanisms of Pulmonary Lymphocyte Activation

    • Particulate Matter and Predisposition to Asthma

    • Particulate matter and Thrombosis

    • Role of Diet in Ozone-related Signaling


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Can “ONES” become an NIH-wide mechanism? research?”

  • Meets objective of creating a mechanism targeted towards helping young investigators with a tenure-track appointment get established

  • Can create a special relationship with an IC that will enhance probability of the PI continuing in the field, especially in areas that need targeting

  • Uses the R01 mechanism with special features

  • Is selective for PIs with high probability of success for competitive renewal

  • Review can be challenging if the scientific areas are very broad

  • CSR study section review would be possible for expertise coverage, but could be problematic in terms of understanding of reviewers of IC objectives/priorities


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