Recovery Act, Peer Review Enhancements, and Stem Cell Guidelines
The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided the NIH with $10.4 billion to stimulate the U.S. economy. Of these funds, approximately $400 million was allocated to the NINDS. The NIH has begun implementation of the enhancements to its peer review process, starting with a new scoring system and format for summary statements. Final guidelines for stem cell research were announced on July 6 and implementation is underway. These measures are intended to not only create and retain jobs, but also to accelerate the pace of biomedical research and to improve the quality of that research as well. There are two new additions to NINDS senior leadership: Dr. William Matthew has joined NINDS as the Director the Office of Translational Research and Dr. Petra Kaufmann as the Director of the Office of Clinical Research.
NINDS and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
As you know, $10.4 billion has been allocated to the NIH through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to participate in stimulating the economy by creating jobs and funding high quality research. To implement the ARRA, NIH announced a number of funding opportunities. While the receipt dates for most of these have passed, additional announcements (http://grants.nih.gov/recovery) will be released in the next month.
We know that many of you are interested in how NINDS will use the approximately $400 million in stimulus funding that we received.
What follows is a brief summary of our current plans for funding. NIH awards that have already been made can be viewed on
http://projectreporter.nih.gov. Most of the funds will be committed by September 30, 2009. Please continue to check our website where we will post more
information as it becomes available.
Our current strategy includes:
Peer Review Enhancements
The NIH has a long history of supporting the most promising and worthy research. While the world-renowned peer review system is the cornerstone of NIH, the increasing span, complexity, and interdisciplinary nature of modern research has created many challenges to the system. To address these challenges, the NIH initiated an effort to formally review its system of peer review using a two-phase process: diagnostic (phase I) and implementation (phase II). The overall goal of this formal review is to ensure that NIH funds the best science, by the best scientists with the least amount of administrative burden.
The diagnostic phase, which ended in March 2008, produced several recommendations including:
The NIH is currently in phase II—the implementation phase—during which phase I recommendations will be realized. Already there have been changes to review and scoring such as placing more emphasis on impact and less on technical details. The system now encourages succinct, well-focused critiques that evaluate, rather than describe, applications, and the use of the entire rating scale. Also already in place are new policies on resubmissions, new investigators and early stage investigators, scoring of individual core criteria and overall impact/priority, and restructured summary statements. Upcoming enhancements will include the restructuring of grant applications including changes in application length, improvements in the quality and transparency of the reviews, and methods to ensure balanced and fair reviews across scientific fields and career stages.
Stem Cell Guidelines
In March 2009, President Barack H. Obama issued Executive Order 13505: Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells—allowing for the support and conduct of responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research.
Recently, NIH released guidelines establishing policy and procedures under which the NIH will fund such research, and helping to ensure that NIH-funded research in this area is ethically responsible, scientifically worthy, and conducted in accordance with the law. .
Before finalizing the guidelines, the NIH received approximately 49,000 comments from patient advocacy groups, scientists and scientific societies, academic institutions, medical organizations, religious organizations, and private citizens. The NIH also received comments from members of Congress. The final guidelines were made effective on July 7, 2009.
Last updated June 25, 2012