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Director's Message

ARRA Funding Update, December 23, 2009

photo of NINDS Director, Dr. Story Landis

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was a unique effort to jumpstart our economy. In this Director's Message I have updated NINDS's progress on implementing the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). NINDS grants funded through the ARRA mechanism have already led to job creation and retention. The results of the funded research will serve to advance neuroscience and positively impact the neurological health of the country. I also encourage the scientific community to communicate back to me how ARRA has contributed to jobs and advanced science in your community.

Earlier this year the NIH was allocated $10.4 billion through the ARRA to simulate the U.S. economy by creating jobs and funding high quality research. Of these funds, NINDS was given approximately $400 million. Most of these funds were committed by September 30, 2009 to support a number of outstanding projects, including meritorious grant applications, trans-NIH targeted supplement programs, Challenge grants, "GO" grants, and the NIMH Autism initiative, as well as other initiatives. What follows is a progress report on how we invested most of the funds. Even more detailed information on NIH awards can be found at Please continue to check our website where we will post more information as it becomes available.


1. NINDS funded particularly meritorious grant applications that scored above the payline.

  • We used 53 percent ($213,301,252) of our allocation to fund high quality applications (including R01s, R21s, R03s, and R15s) that were reviewed recently but not selected for FY '09 funding. We selected meritorious applications that will contribute to the economic stimulus by creating or retaining jobs and accelerating the pace of scientific research. Applications were chosen for funding based on the reviewers' comments and the potential to achieve a subset of the project's goals in 2 years. The majority of applications had scores corresponding to percentiles between our current payline (the 11.0th percentile) and, approximately, the 25.0th percentile. Many applications were selected from the pool normally awarded with fiscal year 2009 funds-- those from the September 2008, January 2009, and May 2009 Council rounds. However, we also included applications from the September 2009 Council round. NINDS is already funding most new PI and ESI R01s within the 20-25% percentile range (as we did last year) and we preferred that new PIs receive the longer terms of funding requested in their applications. Therefore two-year ARRA R01s were not awarded to new investigators.

2. NINDS participated in the trans-NIH targeted supplement programs.

  • We funded three supplement programs
    • Administrative Supplements for research that falls within the scope of an NINDS-funded project--
      We awarded 287 administrative supplements totaling $52,192,877.
    • Administrative supplements to foster Summer Research Experience--
      In addition to the ARRA dollars allocated from Office of the NIH Director (NIH OD) ($1,629,890), NINDS used an additional $1,470,110 to fund 115 administrative supplements for Summer Research Experience. These funds provided much needed summer jobs for high school and college students.
    • Competitive Revisions (formerly called Competitive Supplements) for research that falls outside the scope of an NINDS funded project--
      NINDS awarded 26 competitive revisions totaling $13,456,313.

3. NINDS participated in the trans-NIH Challenge Grant program.

  • The Challenge grant program is described on the NIH website (
  • NINDS provided funding for 37 challenge grants ($32,618,838). Twelve additional challenge grants were paid with funds from NIH OD. Four additional NINDS challenge grants that focused on comparative effectiveness research were paid from NIH OD funds.

4. NINDS supported new faculty hires.

  • The NINDS awarded 18 P30s in FY 2009 to fund recruitment of outstanding investigators into tenure track or tenured positions in basic, translational and clinical neuroscience. The 18 awards are allowing the creation of 25 new faculty positions. The total NINDS commitment to this program was approximately $20 million over the two year period.

5. NINDS participated in the trans-NIH Research and Research Infrastructure Grand Opportunities ("GO") Grants Program

  • The purpose of the "GO" grants program was to support high impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term, non-renewable funding and may lay the foundation for new fields of investigation. Applicants could propose to address a specific research question or to create a unique infrastructure/ resource designed to accelerate scientific progress in the future. NINDS awarded 21 GO grants with 6 grants being co-funded by NIH OD ($41,563,597).

6. NINDS participated in the NIMH Autism RFA-MH-09-170 under which
NINDS awarded 8 grants totaling $ 5,617,658.

7. The remaining ARRA funds approximately $17 million are allocated for funding meritorious applications from three additional initiatives: the Recovery Act Limited Competition: Biomedical Research, Development, and Growth to Spur the Acceleration of New Technologies (BRDG-SPAN) Pilot Program (RC3); the Recovery Act Limited Competition: Small Business Catalyst Awards for Accelerating Innovative Research (R43); and the Recovery Act Limited Competition: Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15).

8. NINDS Signature Project: Genetics and Genomics of Neurological Disorders During the past two decades, the genetic causes of monogenic forms of a number of neurological diseases have been successfully identified, resulting in significant progress in basic understanding of disease mechanisms, molecular diagnoses, pre-clinical and translational research, and promising treatment strategies. To extend this success and define genetic loci for additional monogenic disorders as well as genetic risk factor loci for complex, multifactorial neurological disorders, NINDS designed a signature project, "Genetics and Genomics of Neurological Disorders." This project focuses on identifying genes that cause disease as well as those that confer susceptibility. The project will enable investigators to leverage next-generation sequencing and other emerging technologies that can elucidate genetic variants associated with neurological disorders and attribute functional or disease-causing properties when they exist in combination with other variants or environmental factors.

Last Modified March 1, 2016