IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
January 23, 2002
I. Academic Health Centers' Clinical Research Forum
Dr. Katz explained that five IC Directors have been invited to talk about their Institutes' commitment to clinical research at this Forum on February 6. The group has decided that Dr. Katz will present a global, pan-NIH view and the other IC Directors will talk about their Institutes' new initiatives in clinical research. If IC Directors not taking part in the Forum have any other trans-NIH clinical initiatives, e-mail them to Dr. Katz. Dr. Ehrenfeld will address the Forum in the afternoon. Dr. Kirschstein noted that a recent mechanism table suggests that clinical research is doing well. She and Dr. Katz agreed that at a future IC Directors' meeting we need to discuss the way NIH reports funding for clinical research as well as how we present clinical research to the Congress. This is an issue that has come up on several occasions at the Clinical Research Roundtable, of which the NIH is a member.
II. Model of Grants Funding
Assuming that NIH will go from double-digit annual growth to single-digit growth in the near future, Dr. Cassman said any large oscillation in success rates is very disruptive to the research community; therefore, we need to minimize the impact on that community of this change. One suggestion is to make one- and two-year awards, but Dr. Cassman said this does not work well for NIGMS. He discussed a proposal to reduce the commitment base in the out-years without reducing the total award to any individual investigator. This "front loading" requires more funding in the first year of the grant and less in the last year. Dr. Cassman noted that the problem with this approach is that at the time an award is made it is difficult to predict what the budget increase will be in four years. He used charts to illustrate that "loading" the grant by 5 to 10 percent would be beneficial assuming either a 2 percent or a 6 percent budget increase. Dr. Kirschstein reminded the group that an investigator cannot receive more funding in any year than the national advisory council has recommended; going over that amount would require changing the regulations. Therefore, this proposal only works for those ICs that routinely reduce awards. The group agreed that this plan would require investigators to keep themselves on a fiscal schedule and use the money wisely; Dr. Spiegel noted that this will require educating grantees. Dr. Spiegel plans to distribute his own front-loading plan to the NIDDK research community; his plan spreads the reduction through all the out-years instead of just the last year.
Ms. Kvochak mentioned that any NIH policy must be compatible with OMB rules as well. Dr. Cassman plans to present his proposal to the NIGMS council. Dr. Fauci urged the group to be careful in discussing these proposals with councils; councils do not usually consider legal or regulatory issues, for example. (Dr. Kirschstein left for a meeting with the Secretary during the discussion, and Dr. Maddox chaired the meeting in her absence.) Dr. Maddox asked Drs. Katz and Spiegel to share their models with the other IC Directors and said we would continue the discussion at a future meeting.
III. Information Items
Dr. Maddox met with Mr. Wood yesterday on our national advisory council
slates. She reported that of 28 slates, 16 have not yet been approved.
We currently send OS draft slates. In order to speed up the process, in
future we will send final packages, with the understanding that we will
involve OS in the early stages as well. Dr. Maddox stressed that it is
important for the IC committee management staffs to identify candidates
and get OS to rule on them early on. Ms. Stringfield currently sends OS
an annual list of council vacancies; we will now also send a monthly,
updated list and designate which vacancies are for scientists and which
are for public representatives. Mr. Wood said he will focus on the public
representatives. He also said OS will no longer rubber-stamp our nominations.
Mr. Wood promised to have the outstanding slates back to us by the end
of this month. Ms. Stringfield will circulate the proposed new process
for developing nominating slates.
Dr. Skirboll noted that the PCAST Bioethics Council is meeting today. She will distribute a list of members plus a summary of the meeting. The Council intends to take up cloning as its first issue. The UN is interested in a possible international treaty covering human cloning.
Ms. Quantius said that the Senate has tentatively scheduled the NIH appropriations hearing for April 11 at 10:00 a.m. The House is considering dates in February, and it appears that the House will request five theme hearings plus an NIH overview.
Karen Pelham O'Steen
This page was last reviewed on August 18, 2003 .
National Institutes of Health (NIH)