NIH Extramural Nexus – Workforce Concerns etc.

September issue available for your perusal.

Right off the bat, a question sure to generate some commentary: “Will we have enough new investigators to carry out the health-related research of the future?”

Dr. Bravo does go on to discuss the increase in graduate students and postdocs as well as the decline in academic positions available to these trained scientists – FASEB data previously noted here & in Nature. She goes on to say that the NIH is “looking at key personnel involved in the research supported by NIH grants in FY 2006” as part of a means to examine the biomedical workforce needs & distribution of effort (she estimates that PIs account for about one-sixth of those persons supported via NIH extramural awards). An RFI on this issue is in the works, no doubt.

Other pieces include a chat with Dr. OPASI, policy updates on rDNA use and GWAS data sharing, and the bad news that PureEdge will be with us until March 2008. As usual, many additional useful tidbits as well.

Of note is a new Excel spreadsheet summarizing FY06 & FY07 award data for individual RFAs and PAs. Caveat emptor: this is a 19 MB file that I have been unable to open, no doubt due to the squirrel getting tired in my ancient home-based PC. Update: In case you’re not following the squirrelly comments below, the file can be opened (either downloaded first or direct from link) but with a long delay, so be patient.



  1. PhysioProf said

    “looking at key personnel involved in the research supported by NIH grants in FY 2006″

    Looking only at “key personnel” isn’t going to give useful information. Most of the time, post-docs and grad-students supported on an RPG are not listed as key personnel.

    “Other pieces include a chat with Dr. OPASI”

    He sounded to me like a corporate jive-talking bullshit artist.

    “Caveat emptor: this is a 19 MB file that I have been unable to open, no doubt due to the squirrel getting tired in my ancient home-based PC.”

    It’s not your squirrel. I have a brand-new laptop with lots of memory and two squirrels inside, and I couldn’t open it either. Caveat: I am still running Excel 2000. Maybe it needs a newer version of Excel.

    Rant: It really chaps my hide that NIH doesn’t use a platform-independent open format for *all* the documents they make available. It is good that some stuff is available as PDF, but too much of it is in Word or Excel format.

    Which reminds me, the NIGMS draft 2008-2012 strategic plan has just been made available (as a Word document), and they are seeking input from the extramural community.

    It really contains a beautiful explanation of the importance of basic research, and how essential it is for advances in clinical medicine.

  2. […] 30, 2007 at 12:40 pm · Filed under NIH Advice Thanks to PhysioProf for pointing out the availability of the NIGMS Strategic Plan for review. I especially liked […]

  3. Delenn said

    It is definately not your squirrel; Excel for Mac can’t open the file either. Why am I not surprised?

    no doubt you are one of the many satisfied Mac PureEdge users as well … – writedit

  4. drugmonkey said

    perhaps they’ve fixed the file since you tried but my squirrels are having no difficulty with the excel.

  5. writedit said

    My chilly squirrels here at work did finally open it this am, but not without difficulty … looooonnnnng delay in opening either the saved file or the Weblink directly. Of most interest is the “pivot” table, which breaks down funding totals by type of announcement: PA, PAR, PAS, RFA, Parent. Won’t get a chance to spend time with these $s until later, but I’ll be interested to see the proportions of IC-directed research (PA, PAR, PAS, RFA) versus genuinely wide-open PI-initiated (parent) awards.

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