NIGMS FY 2005 Budget and Funding Policies

From: Berg, Jeremy (NIH/NIGMS)
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 1:30 PM
To: NIGMS Principal Investigators, Applicants, and Business Officials
Subject: NIGMS FY 2005 Budget and Funding Policies

Dear NIGMS Principal Investigator, Applicant, or Business Official:

In keeping with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences policy of making our activities transparent and encouraging communication between the Institute and the scientific community, I am writing to tell you about our Fiscal Year 2005 budget and to describe our funding policies and the principles that underlie them.

The Fiscal Year 2005 NIGMS budget is expected to be approximately $1.944 billion, a 2% increase over Fiscal Year 2004. We have an increase of nearly $50 million in research project grant commitments compared to Fiscal Year 2004. Based on these figures, we anticipate funding slightly more than 900 competing research project grants (new applications plus renewal applications) in Fiscal Year 2005, a decrease from 975 in Fiscal Year 2004. At the same time, NIGMS (along with other NIH institutes) has seen a large increase over previous years in the number of new grant applications, which combines with other factors to lower the overall success rate for competing applications. Based on our current projections regarding numbers of applications, this translates to a research project grant success rate of approximately 26% compared with 30% for Fiscal Year 2004. Recall that the success rate is distinct from the priority score for a funded grant; see /Research/Application/pages/SuccessRateFAQs.aspx for details. More information about the Fiscal Year 2005 budget will be posted on our Web site as soon as the details are finalized.

NIGMS strives to maintain support of the best science that fits within its mission over the long term. In order to achieve this goal, we take the following factors into account in making funding decisions about each grant application:

1. Priority score and percentile as determined by appropriate peer review, with second-level review by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council;

2. Relationship of the proposed grant to the overall research effort of the investigators involved;

3. Scientific coverage within a given area, such as possible overlap or synergy with other funded grants; and

4. Size of the proposed grant compared with its scientific scope.

Underlying these factors are several important principles:

1. Investigator-initiated research is the lifeblood of scientific progress. We maintain funds for this mechanism while also recognizing that some efforts may be more productive or may only be possible if they are done through team approaches or large grants.

2. Highly scored applications must be given the greatest consideration for funding, but in the context of all of the factors that are taken into account.

3. Consideration should be given to new investigators or to investigators who have no other major sources of support, since receiving the proposed grant is likely to maintain their productivity or promote the development of their research program.

4. Each application needs to be considered in the context of other grants funded by NIGMS or throughout NIH.

5. Grant size should be appropriate for the proposed scope of research. In the case of large grants, it is important to evaluate whether similar scientific results could be obtained through less costly mechanisms.

6. Non-amended, competing renewal applications that are just beyond the funding range should be considered for a modest amount of interim support while revised applications are developed and reviewed.

NIGMS and the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council have applied these principles for many years. For example, we have longstanding policies regarding support for new investigators and for established investigators with total direct support over $750,000 (see

While the current budget increase and those projected for the immediate future are less than we have enjoyed in the past, NIGMS will continue to make a sizable investment in basic biomedical and behavioral research and training. As always, Institute staff will endeavor to work with the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council and the scientific community to maximize the return on this investment.

I welcome your questions and feedback.


Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences