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Friday, March 20, 2009

NIH's Funding Boost to Support Grants

The National Institutes of Health will allow the average award value of competing grants for fiscal 2008 to increase by three percent for fiscal 2009, in line with the three percent increase the institutes received under this year's budget appropriation from Congress, NIH said this week.

NIH is predicting that this year's appropriation of $30.3 billion from the omnibus spending bill will allow its institutes and centers (ICs) to support approximately 9,800 new and competing research project grants.

The ICs are expected to maintain the average number of new investigators as it did in the five most recent years, and to continue to use the NIH Director's Innovator Awards and the NIH Pathway to Independence awards within the common fund.

The ICs also are expected to continue to use the NIH Director's Bridge Award Program, which gives continued but limited funding to meritorious investigators whose applications were close to the funding range of the relevant IC, but which have little support from elsewhere. That program will provide up to one year's funding across NIH in order to "help balance the grant cycling variation challenges and support other approaches to sustain established grantees and first time competing renewals."

NIH also said that the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Awards will support a one percent increase in fiscal 2009 in all stipend levels.

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