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Hundreds of BWH researchers packed the Bornstein Amphitheater to capacity during a special Biomedical Research Institute (BRI) town hall meeting last Friday for an up to the minute briefing on the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, or the federal stimulus package.
“This is the first time in recent history that we have seen so many BWH investigators come together with such enthusiasm,” said Cynthia Morton, PhD, director of the BRI. “The $10 billion allotted for the National Institutes of Health is an exciting opportunity for our research community.”
Of that $10.4 billion slated for NIH, $8.2 billion will be used for research grants; $1.3 billion for competitive construction and renovation of extramural research facilities, shared instrumentation and capital research equipment (through the National Center for Research Resources); $400 million for comparative clinical effectiveness research; and $500 million for intramural facilities construction and renovation.
For BWH researchers, that means there is a potential for a large increase in funding over two years, but researchers also will have a short turnaround time for proposal development and submission, with a March 23 deadline for small equipment grants and an April 27 deadline for challenge grants.
There are specific requirements for these funds, including:
Most of the NIH funding will be distributed via three mechanisms: funding recently reviewed, meritorious research grants that missed the payline and have potential for impact in two years; supplemental grants; and challenge grants.
Challenge grants, a new NIH initiative, are two-year awards that address specific scientific and health research challenges in 15 priority areas of biomedical and behavioral research. These grants will be funded at $500,000 per year for two years. There is a short application form and will likely be an expedited peer review process. The request for proposals for challenge grants came out March 5, and grants are due April 27.
“It’s likely that 200 or potentially more challenge grants will be given,” said Paul Allen, MD, PhD, of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, who was one of 10 presenters from BWH and Partners at the meeting. “Of the 15 challenge topics of research, many are areas we study in depth at BWH, including stem cells, health disparities, translational science and regenerative medicine.”
Barbara Bierer, MD, senior vice president for Research, said during the interactive question and answer session following the presentations, “Research Management is planning to do everything possible to accommodate researchers who are applying for grants during this time.”
NIH will post funding announcements as usual at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html.
Visit the BWH Research Intranet at http://bwhbri.partners.org/arra_information.asp to view the town hall presentation, and join the BRI ARRA e-mail discussion list to share and receive the latest information about these funding opportunities.