The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council convened in open session for its 182nd meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2023. The meeting took place on the NIH campus.
Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), presided as chair of the meeting. After an open session from 9:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., the closed session convened from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Natalie Ahn, Ph.D. Ron G. King, Ph.D., M.B.A. Terri Goss Kinzy, Ph.D. Danielle Li, Ph.D. David H. Mathews, M.D., Ph.D. Lesilee Rose, Ph.D. Pamela Stacks, Ph.D. Wendy Young, Ph.D.
Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D. Angela DePace, Ph.D.
Amy Rosenzweig, Ph.D. Melanie Sanford, Ph.D. Jeffrey Sun, J.D., Ph.D.
Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.
Mark Dresser, Ph.D. Senior Vice President Biomarker Sciences and Clinical Pharmacology Sciences Gilead Sciences Foster City, CA 94404
Brent Iverson, Ph.D. Warren J. and Viola Mae Raymer Professor Distinguished Teaching Professor Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 78712
Paola E. Mera, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Microbiology University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Urbana, IL 61801
Julia Widom, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry University of Oregon Eugene, OR 97403
Council roster (available from NIGMS)
Not tracked because meeting was available via unrestricted NIH videocast.
Dr. Lorsch thanked Council members for their service and welcomed guests. Council members approved the minutes from the February 2, 2023, meeting.
Council confirmed the following dates for future meetings:
Dr. Lorsch explained policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and avoidance of conflict-of-interest situations to Council members.
Dr. Lorsch introduced regular and early career ad hoc participants and announced NIGMS and NIH staff changes, including the selection of
Karina L. Walters, Ph.D., M.S.W., as director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office. He announced two upcoming lectures: the
Judith H. Greenberg Early Career Investigator Lecture on September 27 and the
Stetten Lecture on November 8. Dr. Lorsch shared that NIH has partnered with
Kahoot! to provide teachers and others with learning games and trivia quizzes to interest students in biomedical research and science careers.
Dr. Lorsch announced three new funding opportunities and a competition from the NIH-wide
UNITE initiative. These include the
Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) R01, the
Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions, the
STrengthening Research Opportunities for NIH Grants (STRONG), and the
NIH Institutional Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Prize Competition.
Dr. Lorsch informed Council on NIH policy updates, such as the
requirement for grant recipients to establish codes of conduct. He also shared the progress of an
NIH Center for Scientific Review advisory council working group on improving the review of National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowship applications [PDF]. NIH solicited public input on these proposed changes through
Dr. Lorsch presented
recent analyses on NIGMS funding trends, noting the increase in new awards to early stage investigators, increases in investigator and application success rates, and the growth of the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award program within NIGMS’ R01-equivalent portfolio.
Dr. Lorsch reminded Council members that there are several ways to communicate with NIGMS, including the
Feedback Loop blog and the new
NIGMS LinkedIn page.
Dr. Lorsch opened the floor to discussion. Council members discussed the revised review criteria for NRSA fellowships, as well as how DEIA efforts would be reviewed or evaluated in the new UNITE ReWARD program and Institutional Excellence in DEIA Prize Competition. There was a suggestion that the prize competition include not just academic institutions but also small business concerns. Council members also discussed rising data storage costs and possible collaboration with other federal agencies to build data storage platforms with economies of scale, and the potential effects of artificial intelligence and data mining on NIH-funded data banks.
NIGMS Sandbox is a cloud-based learning platform for investigators and students with limited access to expensive research supplies and instruments. It provides them with access to big data and data analytical capacity for cutting-edge research. Council discussed the development of new Sandbox modules, plans for updating existing modules in the future, and confirmed that under-resourced institutions that receive NIH grant funding can use some of their grant money to pay the user costs.
Bridges to the Baccalaureate (B2B) program supports students in STEM fields in transferring from a community college to a 4-year college or university and earning a bachelor’s degree in biomedically relevant disciplines. An NAGMS Council working group convened to evaluate the B2B R25 program to determine the extent to which it met its goals, and lessons that could be applied to the new B2B T34 research training program. The
working group found [PDF] that the program met its stated objectives, with 80% to 90% of its students transferring successfully to a 4-year institution, and 80% to 90% of those students completing the baccalaureate degree. The working group’s full presentation and recommendations can be viewed on the NIH Videocast (timestamp noted above) and by accessing the link above.
The purpose of the
MARC programs is to develop a broad pool of undergraduates who complete their baccalaureate degree and transition into and complete biomedical, research-focused, higher degree programs. Minor changes from the previous funding opportunities include updated and simplified rules for attachments, appendix materials, and letters of support. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue these notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs).
SuRE program supports research capacity building at eligible higher education institutions through funding investigator-initiated research in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences that fall in the NIH mission areas. SuRE Awards are for investigators from eligible institutions who are not currently principal investigators of any active NIH research project grants, while SuRE-First Awards are for investigators from eligible institutions who have not had prior independent external research grants. There are no substantive changes from the previous funding opportunities. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue these NOFOs.
AREA supports small-scale research projects at undergraduate institutions that receive limited NIH funding. Minor changes from the previous funding opportunity include the addition of a required plan for enhancing diverse perspectives and a clarified explanation of the review criteria for engaging undergraduate students in research. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this NOFO.
This portion of the meeting was closed to the public in accordance with the determination that it was concerned with matters exempt from mandatory disclosure under sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., and section 1009(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1014).
Members exited the meeting during the discussion and voting process on applications from their own institutions or other applications that presented a potential conflict of interest, real or apparent. Members signed a statement to this effect.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences considered 1,030 research and training applications requesting $475,517,503 in total costs. The Council recommended 1,030 applications with a total cost of $475,517,503.
The meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m. on May 18, 2023.
I hereby certify that, to my knowledge, the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.
Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D. Chair National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
Erica Brown, Ph.D. Executive Secretary National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council
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