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  • Washington Highlights

    NIH Council of Councils Meets to Discuss Next Generation of Researchers Initiative

    Anne Berry, Lead Specialist, Implementation Research & Policy

    A day prior to the Sept. 1 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils meeting, the NIH released the policy detailing the Next Generation of Researchers Initiative, which requires institutes and centers (ICs) to prioritize awards that fund early career scientists. The policy identifies criteria for classification as an early stage investigator (ESI) or an early established investigator (EEI).

    During his remarks, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, raised the initiative for discussion. The policy outlines the goal of funding approximately 200 more ESIs and 200 more early EEIs in fiscal year (FY) 2017 than were funded in FY 2016. Dr. Collins acknowledged that funding priorities must be adjusted and informed council members that IC directors will have the responsibility to make determinations about how to allocate funding. Dr. Collins also emphasized the importance of monitoring the effectiveness of the policy and that the Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative will track information such as the scientific workforce size and diversity, as well as scientific excellence and outcomes.

    During the meeting NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Michael S. Lauer, MD, updated the council members about the implementation of the NIH clinical trial requirements for grants and contracts [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 16, 2016), which are intended to increase the transparency of clinical research.

    The NIH Policy on Dissemination of NIH-Funded Clinical Trail Information took effect on Jan. 18 and requires applicants seeking NIH funding to include a plan for sharing research findings when submitting their proposals. Additionally, all investigators conducting NIH-funded clinical trials must register the trial within 21 calendar days of enrollment of the first participant and submit the trial’s results to ClinicalTrials.gov no more than one year after the trial’s primary completion date. Noncompliance with the policy may result in grants enforcement actions such as the withholding of NIH funding.

    The Council of Councils advises the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the NIH Director. It draws members from other councils to institutes and centers across the NIH. Its next meeting is Jan. 25-26, 2018.