While the National Science Foundation will wait until next week to release its guidance on the stimulus funding it is responsible for (in part because the National Science Board will meet on the subject early next week), the National Institutes of Health has released a letter (H/T DrugMonkey) outlining how it will handle its stimulus funding, at least where grants are concerned. Acting Director Kington indicated that his organization will focus on the following items:
- We will choose among recently peer reviewed, highly meritorious R01 and similar mechanisms capable of making significant advances in 2 years. R01 are projects proposed directly from scientists across the country.
- We will also fund new R01 applications that have a reasonable expectation of making progress in two years. The adherence to this time frame is in direct response to the spirit of the law.
- We will accelerate the tempo of ongoing science through targeted supplements to current grants. For example, we may competitively expand the scope of current research awards or supplement an existing award with additional support for infrastructure (e.g., equipment) that will be used in the two-year availability of these funds.
- NIH anticipates supporting new types of activities that fit into the structure of the ARRA. For example, it will support a reasonable number of awards to jump start the new NIH Challenge Grant program. This program is designed to focus on health and science problems where progress can be expected in two years. The number of awards and amount of funds will be determined, based on the scientific merit and the quality of applications. I anticipate, of the Office of the Director funds in the ARRA, NIH will support at least $100 to $200 million—but the science will drive the actual level.
- We will also use other funding mechanisms as appropriate.
This is all consistent with the near-term, quick-acting, ‘shovel-ready’ emphasis of the underlying law. Those concerned with this plan are free to submit their comments to the Acting Director (his email is in the full letter), but do keep in mind that this is supplementary spending. There is still the budget for the second half of fiscal year 2009 and the budget for fiscal year 2010 in which to make the case for additional science and technology funding.
Once the NSF guidance is released, I’ll post it here.