Nature confirms the intel I’ve received from program officers at ICs throughout the NIH with regard to how the bulk of the undesignated NIH funding will be disbursed (see comment below with more details from Kington):
National Institutes of Health: $7.4 billion divided among the agency’s scientific institutes and centres will fund grants from a backlog of 14,000 investigator-initiated ‘R01’ grants already reviewed and categorized as “highly meritorious”. It will also fund new R01 applications for projects that could reasonably make progress in two years. The agency will add supplemental funding to existing grants and fund new “challenge grants” aimed at thorny problems.
“We are confident that we can spend the funds that Congress has allocated both responsibly and quickly,” says Raynard Kington, acting NIH director.
Advocates of biomedical research, who have lobbied fruitlessly for substantial NIH increases in recent years, were ecstatic. But they also cautioned against repeating history, in which a budget doubling between 1998 and 2003 was followed by five years of flat funding, leading to a glut of investigators and plummeting application success rates. “We’re hopeful that this represents a first step towards sustained growth,” says David Moore, senior director of government relations at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington DC.
Kington notes: “We are being very careful to focus on funding that only covers the two years of the stimulus package. There will be relatively little, if any, money that entails a four-year commitment.”
Nature also provides a nice synopsis of the stimulus pay-outs to the NIH:
Highlights: $7.4 billion will go to the institutes and centres. $800 million will remain in the director’s office, of which half may be used for initiatives under the Road Map for Medical Research, which focuses on cross-disciplinary, highly innovative and translational research. $1.3 billion will be spent on construction, repairs and shared instrumentation at non-federal research facilities. $500 million will fund high-priority repair, construction and improvement projects on the agency’s campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
and to NSF, DoE, NASA, NOAA, and NIST.