The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council convened in open session for its 180th meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 2022. The meeting took place remotely.
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 12:39 p.m., the closed session convened from 1:15 p.m. to 4:07 p.m.
Natalie Ahn, Ph.D. Darrin Akins, Ph.D. Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D. Angela DePace, Ph.D. Peter J. Espenshade, Ph.D. Terri Goss Kinzy, Ph.D. Danielle Li, Ph.D. David H. Mathews, M.D., Ph.D. Lesilee Rose, Ph.D. Amy Rosenzweig, Ph.D. Melanie Sanford, Ph.D. Pamela Stacks, Ph.D. Jeffrey Sun, J.D., Ph.D. Wendy Young, Ph.D.
Squire J. Booker, Ph.D. Laura F. Gibson, Ph.D. Ron G. King, Ph.D., M.B.A. Ronald M. Przygodzki, M.D.
Fred Heberle, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Chemistry University of Tennessee, Knoxville Knoxville, TN 37920
Alexis C. Komor, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093
Nicole Sampson, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Dean, College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400
Susan S. Smyth, M.D., Ph.D. Executive Vice Chancellor Dean, College of Medicine University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205
Council roster (available from NIGMS)
Not tracked because this was a virtual meeting.
Dr. Lorsch thanked Council members for their service. The minutes of the May 19, 2022, meeting were approved as submitted.
The following dates for future Council meetings were confirmed:
Dr. Lorsch explained policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and avoidance of conflict-of-interest situations to Council members.
Dr. Lorsch recognized retiring Council members and introduced regular and early career
ad hoc participants. He announced NIGMS and NIH staff changes, including, among others, that:
Dr. Lorsch alerted Council of a
three-part grant writing series for scientists new to the process, especially those from under-resourced institutions. The first webinar took place in August and had 1,500 registrants, and the remaining webinars are scheduled for September and November. All will be recorded and available for later viewing. He reminded Council of two upcoming NIGMS events: the
Judith H. Greenberg Early Career Investigator Lecture, with presenter César de la Fuente, Ph.D., on September 28, and the
DeWitt Stetten Jr. Lecture, with presenter Sally L. Hodder, M.D., on November 30. Both will be broadcast and recorded via
Dr. Lorsch presented trends for NIGMS’ Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) applicants by race/ethnicity and by gender across two cohort groups: established investigators (EIs) and early stage investigators (ESIs). Overall, the ESI MIRA pool has the highest percentages of women principal investigators (PIs) and those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Although this is encouraging, neither level reflects the demographics of Ph.D. graduates in the life sciences, emphasizing the need to strengthen efforts in broadening the participation of researchers from underrepresented groups in the biomedical research workforce. Dr. Lorsch noted that applications and awards to the ESI MIRA program have increased in Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states.
Dr. Lorsch shared that on April 15, NIH announced that predoctoral and postdoctoral awardees will receive a 2% stipend increase in Fiscal Year 2022; however, this does not keep pace with the rising cost of living in the U.S. He noted that one way NIGMS could further increase stipends would be by cutting slots, but that would reduce the number of students receiving support. Dr. Lorsch noted that many well-resourced institutions currently supplement predoctoral stipends above National Research Service Award (NRSA) levels, so trainees at those institutions might not actually see increases in their stipends if NRSA levels are higher. However, trainees at lower-resourced institutions could benefit more from a stipend increase, which may have important implications for increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the biomedical research workforce.
Currently, new MIRA grants to EIs have a median budget of approximately $260,000 in direct costs, with the mode at $250,000. Dr. Lorsch suggested that NIGMS is considering raising the "floor" for most EIs.
Dr. Lorsch opened the floor to discussion of these budgetary issues.
Council discussed how to increase faculty diversity. Dr. Lorsch noted that the
Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers program supported this goal and that other grant mechanisms at every educational phase were working together to increase the diversity of postdocs who could then become faculty members. There was a suggestion that NIGMS consider an integrated system in which graduate students are supported all the way through their training in a self-contained ecosystem—something pilotable that could create a more efficient training path. Council and NIGMS staff discussed how the number of T32 grants at a university makes a big difference in faculty and student recruitment.
COBRE provides support through three sequential 5-year phases to establish (Phase 1), develop (Phase 2), and sustain (Phase 3) state-of-the-art research centers in IDeA-eligible states. Phase 3 funding provides resources to transition COBREs to self-sustaining research programs by supporting research cores and a pilot program.
There are no substantive changes from the previous funding opportunity announcement (FOA). NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.
This grant program supports the development of training modules available to the community to enhance training of the biomedical research workforce. Responsive topics are indicated through notices of special interest that NIGMS releases annually. Recent topic areas have included:
There are no substantive changes from the previous FOA. NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.
MIRA provides support for a program of research in an investigator's laboratory that falls within the NIGMS mission. While there are no substantive changes from the previous FOA for ESIs, there are structural changes:
NIGMS received Council approval to reissue this FOA.
The MIDAS coordination center is a hub for collaboration, testing, and dissemination of research products within the MIDAS investigator network. It’s the primary repository for MIDAS-related datasets, models, and software, and it maintains, promotes, and maximizes utility and use of the shared MIDAS resources. The center develops collaborative activities and educational opportunities to enhance the utility of MIDAS resources. It also improves the training experiences for MIDAS network members and their graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
REACH is an NIH-wide program that works with IDeA hubs. Previously managed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the program will move to NIGMS. NIGMS will provide its grants management and scientific oversight in conjunction with the
Development (SEED) Office in NIH’s Office of Extramural Research. Hubs are required to support innovations across the entire NIH mission space.
Proposed changes to the REACH program include:
NIGMS received Council approval to reissue—with the proposed changes—this FOA.
IDeA Networks for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) develop infrastructure and human resources for clinical and translational research, support research and research collaborations that address health conditions prevalent in IDeA states, and develop competitive clinical and translational research programs. Statewide or multistate regional networks are anchored by lead clinical research institutions that support and coordinate research, career development, and community outreach activities in partner institutions. These networks address health challenges in the general population of the state/region.
Proposed changes include:
NIGMS received Council approval to establish these proposed FOAs.
These two awards are the result of a
comprehensive evaluation [PDF] of the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program to address needs identified through a formal Tribal Consultation. The new programs will help Tribes establish and/or enhance their institutional review boards (IRBs) to ensure that health research led by Tribal nations and communities has appropriate IRB support.
NIGMS received Council approval to develop FOAs for these programs.
This program is also in response to the recommendations from the 2020 comprehensive evaluation of the NARCH program. The proposed will focus on undergraduate and graduate students and will support research training hubs at Tribal Organizations to provide stipend support and tuition remission for the students as well as research training activities, including research skills development and preparation for careers in the biomedical research workforce.
NIGMS received Council approval to develop FOAs for this program.
The NIH Common Fund is supporting the
National Centers for cryo-EM until 2024. The program is open to any centers equipped with at least four high-resolution data collection cryo-EM systems at one site. This concept proposes that the program transition to NIGMS after the Common Fund support ends.
NIGMS received Council approval to develop an FOA to support cryo-EM centers.
Council discussed whether there was data collection to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting productivity among trainees and faculty. NIGMS is collecting data, as is NIH. The Institute has given supplements to career development (K) grantees who have had COVID-19-related hardships.
Council also discussed the success of the IDeA and NARCH programs as models to reach rural areas and to have a regional impact. These programs work within communities to support students who may have family obligations or expectations by providing biomedical research career opportunities in their communities.
This session of the meeting was closed to the public, as it concerned matters exempt from mandatory disclosures under Sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5, U.S.C. and Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2).
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 1,164 research and training applications requesting $503,139,369 in total costs. The Council recommended 1,164 applications with a total cost of $503,139,369.
The meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m. on September 15, 2022.
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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