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What is the Advisory Council?
Each Institute of the National Institutes of Health maintains a national advisory council which has two general functions: (1) to advise the Institute on policy and procedures affecting the extramural research programs and (2) to provide a second level of review for all grant and cooperative agreement applications considered by the Institute for funding. Except for fellowships, the NINDS may not award a grant unless it has been recommended for support by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NANDS) Council.
The NANDS Council meets regularly three times a year: in early February, late May, and mid-September. Each meeting of the NANDS Council is about one and one half days long. A portion of this meeting is open to the public and the remainder is a closed confidential session devoted primarily to the review of applications.
In addition to application review, the NINDS Director utilizes the expertise and experience of NANDS Council members for activities such as the following:
NANDSC Membership Roster
Ben A. Barres, M.D., Ph.D. (2015)
Professor and Chair, Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine
E. Antonio Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D. (2016)
Chair, Department of Neurosurgery
Brigham and Women’s/Faulkner Hospital
Captain Michael Colston, M.D. (2015)
Ex Officio Member, Director of the Mental Health Program, Clinical and Program Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
Robert B. Darnell, M.D., Ph.D. (2014)
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor of Cancer Biology and Senior Physician
The Rockefeller University
Byron D. Ford, Ph.D. (2016)
Professor, Department of Neurobiology
Morehouse School of Medicine
David D. Ginty, Ph.D. (2015)
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
David B. Goldstein, Ph.D. (2016)
Director, Center for Human Genome Variation
Paul Gross (2015)
Former Chairman of the Board, Hydrocephalus Association
Sharon E. Hesterlee, Ph.D. (2014)
Senior Director Research and Advocacy
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
David M. Holtzman, M.D. (2015)
Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and Chair,
Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine
David Julius, Ph.D. (2017)
Professor and Chair, Department of Physiology
University of California, San Francisco
Eve E. Marder, Ph.D. (2014)
Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience
Head, Division of Science
Kevin St. P. McNaught, Ph.D. (2015)
Vice President for Medical and Scientific Programs,
Tourette Syndrome Association
Ilene Penn Miller, J.D., LL.M. (2017)
Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas
Jonathan W. Mink, M.D., Ph.D. (2017)
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Neurology
University of Rochester Medical Center
Robert E. Pacifici, Ph.D. (2014)
Chief Scientific Officer, Drug Discovery and Development
CHDI Management/CHDI Foundation
Amy Comstock Rick, J.D. (2016)
Chief Executive Officer
Parkinson’s Action Network
Robert L. Ruff, M.D., Ph.D.
Ex Officio Member, Acting Director, Rehabilitation R&D Service
Veterans Affairs Central Office
Ralph Lewis Sacco, M.D. (2017)
Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Amita Sehgal, Ph.D. (2014)
John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience
Co-Director, Comprehensive Neuroscience Center
University of Pennsylvania Medical School
Schedule of Upcoming Meetings
|May 29-30, 2014||NIH, Building 31, Conference Room 10|
|September 11-12, 2014||NIH, Building 31, Conference Room 10|
|January 29-30, 2015 (New Date)||NIH, Porter Building|
|May 28-29, 2015||NIH, Building 31, Conference Room 10|
|September 10-11, 2015||NIH, Building 45, Conference Room E1/E2|
Minutes of Recent Meetings
Council Operating Procedures
The National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council (NANDSC) advises the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) on research activities and policies. The NANDSC provides the final review for all applications for research grants, training grants, and career development awards assigned to the NINDS, as well as for other requests for support for which Council approval is required by law. The NANDSC also provides clearance for concepts for new NINDS research initiatives involving set-aside funds.
At the January/February Council meeting each year, Council reviews these Operating Procedures NINDS and, where appropriate, makes recommendations for revision.
The operating procedures document the circumstances in which the institute and the national advisory council have agreed it is desirable to discuss individual applications. Some of the more common circumstances are:
The national advisory council may vote en bloc concurrence with the recommendations of the IRGs for the applications for which no review or policy issues have been identified.
A national advisory council may vote to recommend that the institute consider paying certain applications out of scientific merit priority score order. These applications are designated as having High Program Priority (HPP). Similarly, in cases of high scientific merit but Low Program Priority (LPP), the national advisory council may vote to recommend that institute staff consider not funding specific applications. This latter procedure is rarely used in NINDS. While these various recommendations by council are considered seriously by the institute, the final legal authority for payment of grant applications rests with the NINDS Director.
In addition to application review, the NINDS Director may utilize the expertise and experience of Council members for the following activities.
Staff may request expedited electronic review of specific applications. All Council members will be asked to participate in the expedited review and will be notified of the applications under consideration. Expedited electronic review may be designated for, but not limited to:
EARLY CONCURRENCE PROCESS
NINDS has adopted the Early Concurrence Process as one means of shortening the time between application receipt and award. The main purpose of the early concurrence process is to focus Council attention at the actual Council meeting on those applications that truly require active Council consideration. Another important purpose of this process is to allow earlier funding of grants. Three members of the NANDS Council are selected by the Council Executive Secretary and asked to act on behalf of the full Council to implement early en bloc concurrence with initial review group recommendations for each Council round (approximately eight weeks before each Council meeting) for eligible applications within the payline. All Council members are welcome to participate in the voting. The members vote using the Early Concurrence Voting Module of the NIH Electronic Council Book. If there any applications that any Council members wish to designate for discussion, these are noted and brought up at the Council meeting. Results of this process are discussed at each Council meeting.
CONCEPTS FOR RESEARCH INITIATIVES
In open session, the Council conducts concept review of potential research initiatives that either require set-aside funds, or are of particular importance. These initiatives are proposed by NINDS staff and originate from consultation with the scientific community, constituency organizations, and Congress. Council may recommend approval, modification, deferral, or disapproval of a concept. NINDS staff will record and maintain documentation reflecting Council discussion and recommendations.
NINDS DIVISION OF INTRAMURAL RESEARCH
At the January/February Council meeting, the Director of the Division of Intramural Research provides an update on the intramural research program and the recommendations of the previous year’s Board of Scientific Counselors reports.
DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
The Institute staff may take the actions listed below without Council review. Council may request information on these actions at any time.
SECOND LEVEL OF PEER REVIEW
In the closed portion of the meeting, all research grants and cooperative agreements must undergo Council review and approval prior to being awarded. Based on budgetary information available, staff provides the NANDSC with a projected "payline" for research project grant mechanisms, (e.g. the R01, R03, R21, and R15). This procedure assumes that all applications within a given percentile rank will be paid regardless of program relevance. The payline is projected, however, to leave additional funds for the payment of special initiatives including selected applications outside the payline. These applications are selected on the basis of program relevance or related reasons, and are known as "high program priority" applications. Please note that although it is NIH policy to use the percentile rank rather than the priority score in determining the payline, both of these numbers (priority scores between 10 and 90 and percentiles from 1.0 and above in whole numbers) are printed on summary statements and computer-generated percentile lists supplied to the NANDSC. (Some types of applications, such as Institutional Training Grants and applications in response to an RFA are not ‘percentiled.’ Such applications are not interdigitated with applications that are percentiled.)
Approximately two weeks before NANDSC meets, the staff of each program selects applications that it believes are worthy of the HPP designation. Lists of such recommendations are made available to the NANDSC in advance of the meeting so that staff may ask Council’s advice regarding potential payment of these applications. NANDSC members can also nominate, prior to the Council meeting, applications to be discussed for consideration. At the Council meeting, both staff and Council-nominated applications can be discussed. Council feedback concerning these applications is critical to the decision-making process of NINDS staff. It must be recognized, however, that the budgetary situation may change after the NANDS Council meeting and that more applications are nominated for HPP consideration than can be awarded. Staff may also make awards beyond the payline on applications that had not been identified for high program priority if budgetary balances should be unexpectedly large; this situation, however, is quite rare.
The following options are available to Council for all applications under review:
Applications that raise no special issues need not be discussed individually. On these, Council may vote en bloc concurrence with the recommendations of the study section.
Last updated September 19, 2014