Environmental Factor, March 2008, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Extramural Update: NIEHS FY 2008 Extramural Budget
By Dennis Lang
The NIEHS appropriation for fiscal year 2008 provides for an overall budget for grants amounting to one percent more than 2007 funding. This is significantly less than the cost of inflation and will result in continued austerity in the grants budget. Below we have outlined the steps the Division of Extramural Research and Training will be taking in this fiscal year to meet the requirements set out by NIH.
In order to fund as many research grants as possible, it is necessary to continue the moratorium on the submission of new P01s and to carefully prescreen applications requesting direct costs in excess of $500,000. Despite these efforts the overall success rate is expected to be lower than in recent years.
To maintain our emphasis on investigator initiated research, the NIEHS does not intend to release new initiatives beyond those already announced. As programs begun under past Request for Applications approach the end of their project periods, they will be evaluated to determine whether the programs should be continued, and if so, in what format. Some programs may be discontinued. Extramural management and staff will determine whether funds freed up by the discontinuation of a program will be used to create new initiatives or to increase the number of EITHER investigator-initiated OR unsolicited research projects to be paid.
The NIH budget strategy requires that the average cost for research grants may not increase by more than 1% of the 2007 funded level. Therefore, additional budgetary reductions will be necessary as described below:
- Competing Awards: Budget reductions will be necessary in order to meet NIH funding guidelines; however, the extent of these reductions and how they will be applied will be determined after taking into consideration the average cost of competing RPGs (research project grants) as well as the availability of funds.
The funding period may be adjusted based on percentile ranking, type of research and new investigator status of the applicant.
These guidelines do not necessarily apply to applications funded in response to an RFA.
- Noncompeting Awards: All non-competing continuation awards, including those initiated through solicitations will be funded at 98% of the committed level for Fiscal Year 2008 that is reflected on the Fiscal Year 2007 Notice of Grant Award. Future years will be adjusted as well. See: NOT-OD-08-036 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-036.html) .
We realize these reductions will cause additional hardship for our grantees and regret their necessity. Please know we are doing the best we can in a difficult situation.
(Dennis Lang, Ph.D., is the interim director of the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training)