NIGMS Plans Pilot Program to Consolidate Support of Investigators’ Research


July 17, 2014

As part of its ongoing efforts to explore ways to increase the efficiency and efficacy of its funding activities, NIGMS has announced plans for a pilot program that would support an investigator’s research through a single, unified grant rather than separate project grants. To aid in its planning, the Institute today issued a request for information that outlines the proposed program and solicits the scientific community’s input on it. Comments are due by August 15.

The program, named the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), would consolidate all of the NIGMS funding to a participating investigator in one 5-year grant. This is longer than the current average for an NIGMS regular research grant (R01) of close to 4 years. MIRAs would also have higher median direct costs than those of current NIGMS R01s.

The hope is that this new approach will increase investigators’ funding stability and their flexibility to follow important new research directions as opportunities and ideas arise. MIRAs could also reduce the time investigators spend writing and reviewing grants, in part by not requiring them to break their work into smaller, strictly prescribed increments. The overall goal is to increase scientific productivity and improve the chances for important breakthroughs.

The eventual funding opportunity announcement for this program will include metrics for evaluating its success.