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August 20, 2008

News Articles

Opportunities and Resources

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

News Articles
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Tell Us How We Can Ease Your Financial Conflict of Interest Burden

NIH is giving you an opportunity to comment on the burden -- measured in time and cost -- of collecting, recording, and reporting financial conflict of interest information.

For background and a list of focus points for your comments, read the July 14, 2008, Federal Register notice on Your response should address conflict of interest burdens, not the policy as a whole.

Submit your comments by September 15, 2008, to Mikia Currie in the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration at

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Diversity Supplement Jump-Starts Successful Career

Here's a success story that's also a testament to the difference a diversity supplement can make in a career.

From Postdoc to Professor

In 1993, Olivia Martinez received a Research Supplement for Underrepresented Minorities, now called a Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. Fifteen years later, she is a professor in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of Stanford's predoctoral program in immunology.

Dr. Martinez attributes much of her successful climb up the ladder to the diversity supplement she got from NIAID as a postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco. She says, "It gave me the support I needed as a young scientist and the chance to publish several important papers in immunology."

Now she's a PI on two R01 grants -- one from NIAID, another from the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Martinez's impressive CV includes the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Immunologists, membership on several editorial boards and NIH study sections, and the position of associate editor of Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Martinez was the first member of her family to attend college. She received her B.S. from the University of Southern California and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Delve Into Diversity and Other Research Supplements

If you're a PI, think about hiring someone under a supplement to expand your workforce.

If you're a member of an underrepresented group, you may be able to tap into salary, fringe benefits, and research support through a supplement to an existing grant.

How? Ask a PI supported by NIAID to apply to hire you under a diversity supplement. Read details at Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

NIAID also offers research supplements to help promising researchers return to a science career. To find out more, go to Research Supplements.

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Congress Is Concerned Over NIH Funding

At the congressional budget hearings in July, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D., built a case for a boost in NIH’s FY 2009 budget.

Several members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education agreed, including Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa and Ranking Member Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

But despite congressional goodwill, the hearing is just one step towards building support for more NIH funding. Senators will need to do a lot more work before a budget increase has any chance of becoming a reality.

Dr. Zerhouni’s emphasis differs from that of the President, whose FY 2009 budget request continues the four-year trend of level budgets for NIH and NIAID.

In his remarks, he told the committee that to keep the enterprise intact you must have a reasonable success rate, which he gauged at 30 percent.

With success rates now at just 20 percent, Sen. Harkin noted, “It should be no surprise that many young people are deciding against a career in biomedical research.”

Funding pressures from four years of no-growth budgets are weighing heavily on the biomedical research enterprise, as we wrote in a previous article "Damaged Pipeline in the Spotlight."

Having lost ground to inflation, funding has fallen as much as 13 percent in real dollars during that time.

You can read Dr. Zerhouni's prepared statement and listen to a recording of the hearing at Labor Hearings and Testimony. Find other congressional testimony and other NIH budget documents at NIH Budget Requests and the President's budget request at Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2009.

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Help Guide the Future of Human Subjects Protection Training

Do you think the Department of Health and Human Services should issue additional guidance on human subjects research training or require institutional training and education programs?

You can let the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) know what's on your mind.

Your thoughts will help HHS decide whether to give more training recommendations or set more regulations requiring institutions to implement training and education programs.

Submit comments before September 29, 2008, to

For questions to guide your responses, see the Request for Information and Comments on the Implementation of Human Subjects Protection Training and Education Programs.

Opportunities and Resources
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New Web Site Makes DMID Services Easier to Find

Make Services for Researchers your first stop when looking for research resources from the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

On that site, you can link to complete information on each of DMID's 35 services, organized by type of service, pathogen or disease, or alphabetical listing. No need to sift through disparate pages or perform endless searches.

On each service's landing page, you'll find a description of the service, a list of institutions that provide the service, up-to-date information about how to get the service, and a single, dependable contact to answer your questions.

The site is part of our ongoing effort to make information transparent, easy to find, and customer-friendly.

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NIAID RFA Is Pilot for Adobe-Based Forms

In our July 2, 2008, article "October Pilot for Adobe Forms," we told you to look out for two pilot funding opportunity announcements that will test out the new Adobe-based Grant Application Package.

The announcements are here, and NIAID has one of them -- see the Immune Defense Mechanisms at the Mucosa (R21) request for applications.

If the pilots go smoothly, NIH will put all application package forms into the Adobe-based format. You'll gradually see more opportunities use the forms starting in December.

To learn more, read the August 1, 2008, Guide notice and go to Adobe SF424 (R&R) Forms on eRA's Frequently Asked Questions.

If you want to apply for NIAID's announcement and have questions about using the new forms, you can contact the Contact Center.

Advice Corner
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Rules for Application Graphics: The Big Picture

Graphs, timelines, and other visuals can help your application if you follow the rules for how and where to use them. Always keep the following points in mind:

  • Add images to your Research Plan only, not the Appendix or any other section. The only exception for the Appendix is a copy of a manuscript that has preexisting embedded graphics.
  • Your images count toward the page limit for your Research Plan. For advice, see Page Limits, Formats in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal.
  • To keep file size small, the maximum resolution for a graphic should be 1200 by 1500 pixels, up to 256 colors. Use image compression such as JPG or PNG formats.
  • Text in graphics must be readable as printed on an 8.5 by 11 inch page. You can use any type size, as long as the text is black and follows the other font requirements in section 2.6 of the Grant Application Guide.
  • Don't include movies or multimedia in your application. Contact your scientific review officer to request permission to send multimedia separately. The SRO will decide if the additional material is appropriate and tell you how to send it.

Now that you know the rules, be sure to use informative illustrations to highlight key points in your Research Plan, guide reviewers through your application, break up the monotony of text, and enhance the quality of your application.

We summarized the benefits at General Tips for a Successful Research Plan in the NIH Grant Cycle: Application to Renewal.

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Have You Customized Your Email Alert Profile?

Attention Funding News subscribers! You can tailor your Email Alert profile to your areas of interest. Go to iconNIAID Funding News and Email Alerts Subscription Center.

Interested in receiving payline updates? We'll deliver them to your inbox.

Trying to get a sense of NIAID's highest priorities? We'll notify you about concepts when they're approved by Council.

We have other mailing lists you can choose from. If you haven't updated your profile, you might have missed important Guide notices and funding opportunity announcements.

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Reader Question

A reader asks:

When it comes to applying for NIH grants and scholarships, who qualifies as an underrepresented person?

NIH considers the following groups as underrepresented in biomedical research:

If you can show that you are underrepresented at your institution, you may still qualify for some special programs.

For further guidance, please contact Milton Hernandez, director of NIAID's Office of Special Populations and Research Training, at 301-496-3775 or

New Funding Opportunities
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See these and older announcements on our NIH Funding Opportunities Relevant to NIAID.

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