Albany 2015:Book of Abstracts

Albany 2015
Conversation 19
June 9-13 2015
©Adenine Press (2012)

New Grant Programs Offered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Many changes have taken place at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) over the past few years that affect the way research will be funded in the future. Some of these changes are in organization, some are in leadership, and some reflect shifts in the overall funding environment. Parts of the capacity-building and biomedical technology research resource programs of the former National Center for Research Resources were transferred to NIGMS along with a host of new funding opportunities. On the other hand, years of relatively level NIH budgets have constrained the success rates for individual investigator R01-type grant awards. As NIGMS director Jon Lorsch has outlined in the NIGMS Feedback Loop blog


and other venues, the current distribution of funds may not be optimal, and there is growing consensus that the current biomedical support model is not sustainable. In response, NIGMS is phasing out large-scale and specifically targeted scientific activities that were begun during the NIH budget doubling period in favor of supporting more investigator-initiated research. NIH-wide there is growing interest in grants that focus on the overall productivity of investigators, rather than specific narrowly tailored projects.

One effort is the NIGMS Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA), which uses the new NIH R35 grant mechanism. This program reflects the need for changes to create a sustainable research funding environment. A MIRA will replace all other NIGMS support for a given independent investigator's laboratory, with a few exceptions. The goals are to enhance the stability of laboratory funding, increase flexibility to pursue new and potentially risky directions, enhance the distribution of funding, and reduce the time spent writing and reviewing grant applications. The applications are to be very brief and judged primarily on the significance and impact of the questions posed and the investigator's record of past scientific contributions. Details of the experimental approach are to be deemphasized. If the pilot is successful, MIRA could become the dominant way that NIGMS funds research, replacing its long history of supporting research primarily through the R01 grant mechanism. Information and future updates about MIRA will be at:


This talk will present the MIRA and other new or proposed NIGMS funding mechanisms. For general information about NIGMS funding opportunities, see:


Peter C. Preusch

Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200

Ph: (301) 594-1158