A unique progam is supporting City of Hope investigators awaiting grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Awards of Excellence committee has distributed two rounds of awards of $100,000 each to investigators who applied for grants from the NIH, but whose proposals barely missed being funded.
The awards help investigators continue or start projects while they are waiting for approval after resubmission.
When researchers apply for grant funds from the NIH, a committee of peers reviews each proposal and gives it a numerical score. The NIH only provides funds to proposals that attain the highest scores among all grants recently reviewed. In 2006, the NIH funded about 20 percent of grants across all of its institutes, down from more than 30 percent in 2000.
Unfortunately, many worthwhile proposals fall just below the funding cutoff. Without assistance, these research ideas may never reach reality.
The Awards of Excellence program’s name reflects the quality of the grant submissions, according to Art Riggs, Ph.D., Beckman Research Institute director and the awards’ founder. “Because creative research involves some risk, it can be argued that proposals that are just below the funding line are likely to propose somewhat more creative research than those that are just over the line,” he said.
Richard Jove, Ph.D., deputy director of City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, noted this trend. “Many outstanding grants that deserve to be funded, and would have been in previous years, are falling through the cracks due to the current NIH funding climate,” Jove said. “The Excellence Award helps to fill this gap by funding some of these deserving grants, allowing investigators to maintain their research momentum until their grants receive extramural funding.”
The review committee, whose members include Riggs, Jove, and Susan Kane, Ph.D., associate director of Beckman Research Institute, considers unfunded grant proposals that have received a score from the NIH in the top 20th percentile or better. For more information on applying for an award, contact Yvonne Bobadilla at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 63324. The committee will send out requests for new applications in November.
Funding for the program came from a donor who chose to remain anonymous.