NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has issued a request for applications for its new Research Program Award (RPA), which is designed to provide longer-term support and increased flexibility to investigators conducting neuroscience-related research. An RPA will generally support all NINDS-related research in a laboratory with up to $750,000 per year in direct costs for up to eight years.

Applications for an RPA will be limited to six pages and will not include Specific Aims. The review committee will evaluate the investigator’s track record and assess the significance and long-term relevance of the proposed research program—as well as the PI’s demonstrated potential for conducting rigorous research and his/her record of service to the scientific community.

Applicants must have had at least four years of R01 (or equivalent) support, but the program is not limited to senior investigators. In fact, NINDS anticipates funding a significant number of investigators relatively early in their careers, including those who have traditionally supported their labs through a single R01.

Although NINDS expects to fund most RPAs for eight years, the NINDS Council and staff will conduct a progress evaluation of each research program after four-to-five years of funding; PIs whose funding will not be extended will generally be offered bridge support to allow a transition back to more traditional funding mechanisms.

NINDS is strongly encouraging investigators to submit a letter of intent by September 6. The application deadline is October 6, 2015. PIs may submit a competitive renewal R01 application and RPA application in parallel.

This program shares some elements with the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Outstanding Investigator Award program from the National Cancer Institute, all of which use the R35 funding mechanism.

Additional Information:

Adam Fagen was formerly Executive Director of the Genetics Society of America.

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