What Passes for Good News for the NIH

Although the shoutin’ is only about to begin, Senators Patty Murray and Paul Ryan announced a bipartisan budget agreement that would role back the FY14 sequester, which would be a huge relief for the NIH.

As required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the FY13 sequester imposed mandatory 5.1% across the board cuts, and the FY14 sequester was set to increase these cuts to 7.4%. With the pending budget deal, discretionary spending would be capped at $1.012T instead of $967B (vs $986B in FY13). Of course, academic medical centers won’t necessarily be cheering the extension of the 2% cut to Medicare providers.

For historical perspective, discretionary spending in FY12 was $1.285T, a drop from $1.347T in FY10 and FY11; in FY06, discretionary spending was at $1.016T. In other words, Congress would still be defunding the NIH in FY14.

Details on the NIH appropriation to follow as the sausage is made.



  1. louis md said

    Hi writedit,
    I got your book and am half way through it. It is good.

    I, however, decided several weeks ago to change gears and look for alternatives. Found, at NIH jobs, an ad on Global recruitment for MOs and HSAs. Do you know what “available certificates mean?”. This is what I read:

    “In FY13, Global Recruitment has hired 34 Medical Officers and 57 HSAs. Currently, GRU has Health Scientist Administrator (HSA) and Medical Officer certificates available for consideration. We have advertised in over 480 Journals/Associations, 140 of which are diversity organizations. The Global Recruitment efforts have yielded an extensive list of candidates in a variety of medical specialties. See below for a list of available certificates”

    Are these available positions that will be posted on USAjobs or rather preselected applicants on a list pending as NIH appropriation is finalized?.

    Thank you for your help

    • writedit said

      I am not sure of the context of your quoted ad, but yes, all openings at the NIH are listed in USAJobs, which is where you would apply (for DE not MP listings). If you have previously worked with a PO (HSA = PO), you can ask him/her about any openings for which you might be qualified.

  2. louis md said

    Thanks writedit. This is the link for the text on announcement, one of the 214 jobs advertised at main NIH site for “All Applicants”.


    • writedit said

      This seems to be directed toward NIH staff rather than applicants – you’ll want to search for actual job postings soliciting applications.

    • NIH Fed said

      Writedit is correct. That site is for internal use.

      NIH has started using a global recruitment ad is (like a big Resume repository) to hire for a generic Program Officer or Review Officer or Policy Officer etc..positions. They have to (and they do) look through these folks first. If they can’t find anyone then they can put out a specific ad for the position they want to fill.

      The Global Ads open ( that is you can apply ) every 4-6 months in USAjobs.gov.

      So, as writedit said you have to look and apply through USAjobs.gov for these openings.

      Search for NIH and HSA. Good luck.

      • louis md said

        OK. Thanks writedit and nih fed

      • louis md said

        @ NIH fed,

        So, when “The Global Ads open ( that is you can apply ) every 4-6 months in USAjobs.gov” as you indicate

        are these positions also open for internal NIHers (NIH Resume Repository) who did not get their generic position in previous rounds? If that were the case the chances for external applicants are very slim, are they not?.


      • NIH Fed said

        Yes and no. Yes, feds can and do apply. And no, Feds do not necessarily have an advantage. We interview/hire about 50/50 Feds/nonFeds for the jobs we advertise. Depends what we are looking for. Being a fed means we probably know someone who knows someone who knows the applicant and can give us some unvarnished information.

      • NIH Fed said

        The real key (for both Feds and nonFeds) is making your Resume/CV stand out somehow. Cover letters become very important. Not too long, not too short but always well written and interesting.

  3. louis md said

    Thank you for advice.

  4. louis md said

    Thanks for alerting on the importance of an excellent cover letter and CV presentation. Have a specific question. In the process of preparing cover letter, I have shown it to several colleagues. One of them is insisting on explaining “your next project”. I understand this if one is applying for an academic (research/teaching) position. If applying for an NIH, HSA position, I don’t see how one can explain ” next project, methods and so “. These NIH positions are for science administration and often NIH train selected candidates to fulfilll specific job skills and requirements. Exactly, in the same way NIH train Chairs or New Reviewers for their job at Study Sections. Am I correct?. Could you please help clarify the issue. Thanks.

    • writedit said

      Extramural program staff are former researchers, and ICs want to be sure they hire people who are deeply involved in and committed to investigators and the research process. Your colleague wants you to describe your current and planned research as a means of demonstrating you have successfully run your own lab (so you know what to look for in managing your IC porfolio) and can thoughtfully plan future directions for your research (so you can contribute to IC planning of scientific initiatives for which funding will be made available to the extramural community). Think of it more as an audition than describing what you expect to happen if you are hired by the NIH.

      • NIH Fed said

        Audition is a great analogy. Depending on the job you are aplying for your “next project” might involve more adminstrative or management roles. That is, show an interest in what the Program staff do, not that you are just looking for a job, any job.

        To push the analogy futher, you have one chance to impress Simon Cowell at the prelims for American Idol. Impress him and make yourself stand out from the 100s of other singers.

  5. louis md said

    Hi NIH Fed,

    First, thanks for both writedit and your comments. As I commented on April 2 on “Discussion, Paylines..”, I submitted a job application within the Global Recruitment Program and have not heard anything other than a letter, 3 weeks after the closing date, stating that I did not qualify for grade 14 (which I expected) but nothing on grade 13 have been received yet. Following writedit advice, I went to USAjobs that qualifies my application as “Received” and sents me to Application Manager ( the system used by NIH) for more information. The only information there is the letter on the 14 grade results. As per writedit advice, I then e-mailed the contact person listed on the announcement asking if I could expect a second letter on my grade 13 application. I have not received a response but it is only 5 days since my e-mail. On the other hand, in a previous submission last year I received a separate letter for each grade. So, I don’t know how to interpret the absence of the second letter after 6 weeks of closing date. I was wondering if you know whether NIH has now changed the rules on their notification system and no more information is to be expected (if I has not been considered for the position). I’d appreciate your feeling on what I should expect. Thanks.

  6. NIHFed said

    What I have heard is that there is a “hold” on all of the positions advertised via the global. The hold is due to some preferred applicants (verterans, laid off feds etc.) who applied for and qualified for the jobs. Until these folks are either hired or withdraw no one else can even be considred for these jobs. Even internal NIH folks can not be considered. The folks looking to hire can not even see the resumes of any of the other applicants. Basically the whole system is at a stop for now.

    If the holds remain you can expect to see a flurry of job advertisements for specific positions being released.

    • louis md said

      Hi NIH Fed,

      Any developments or change on the status of the “hold” on all “via global positions” ? Your view very much appreciated.

  7. louis md said

    Thanks NIHFed.

    Is it fair to say that, at this point, the most realistic expectation would be to wait for new job advertisements to be released and/or look outside NIH for similar positions?. Thanks again.

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