NIAID pulls out of EUREKA

September 14, 2007

NIAID is pulling out as a sponsor of the EUREKA program.

Due to the substantial preliminary interest communicated by numerous investigators in widely disparate fields of research versus the limited new funds projected to be available  for this initiative, NIAID has determined that investigators interested in support from NIAID would be much better served, and are likely to have a higher ultimate success rate, by applying for unsolicited R01 grants in response to the Research Project Grant (R01) parent announcement that can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-07-070.html .  The NIAID remains committed to considering one award for up to $400,000 to a EUREKA application responsive to the NIGMS research scope and programmatically important to NIAID.

We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused investigators.

HUH?????!!!!!

7 Responses to “NIAID pulls out of EUREKA”

  1. PhysioProf Says:

    “HUH?????!!!!!”

    That was what I thought when I read the notice (actually it was more like “WTF!!!??!?!?”). They are “withdraw[ing] as a co-sponsor”, but they remain “committed to considering one award”? Looking at the original RFA, NIAID was only committing to one award in the first place.

    What does this really mean? My speculation: (1) NIAID doesn’t want to deal with setting up a review panel to review a huge number of applications just to fund one. (2) They decided to just offload the review onto NIGMS, and then pick the highest-scored application relevant to NIAID funding priorities for award.

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  2. drugmonkey Says:

    funny thing is that they were never that into it in the first place. no financial/management or peer review contacts listed for them in the original announcement. and look at their one-liner describing the Participating Institutes under research objectives.

    these guys are like the bad lab partner, wanting to get the credit of “sponsorship” without doing any work and committing to the lowest $$.

    I didn’t really appreciate this at first but what a funny set of sponsors. NINDS, NIMH and NIDA, okay, the brain ones are signed on. but with GMS? And why the brain Institutes? Do they (we) have a greater problem with innovation and hidebound review practices? If so does that offer a clue into changes that should be made? or are these the cutting-edge forward-looking Institutes….

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  3. Neuro-conservative Says:

    I would assume that “our” institutes are separate because the other “general” medical sciences look down their collective noses at us and would never fund our grants. This is because: 1) “real” doctors don’t like psychiatrists; 2) our diseases are not “real” (they are character flaws); 3) we are so primitive in our understanding of the relevant molecular signaling pathways. (Take your pick). Makes you wonder if they will one day reinvent the ADAMHA wheel.

    So, the big question is: Have you heard anything about how much interest the brain Institutes are getting for EUREKA, and what the likely odds for success will be?

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  4. PhysioProf Says:

    Well, here is how much money is allocated by each institute: “NIGMS intends to commit $5 million in FY2008 to fund 13-17 applications submitted in response to this FOA. NINDS, NIMH, and NIDA intend to commit an additional $1.5 million, $1 million, and $500,000, respectively.”

    Based on these numbers, I decided to submit to NIGMS. And based on my discussions with one of the program officers there who is handling EUREKA, it looks like there is an informal filtering process in place.

    Although there is no requirement for approval of a letter of intent, the program officer definitely put me through a process of justifying the “EUREKA-ness” of my proposed project before agreeing that it made sense to submit a EUREKA application. And the program officer told me that in many cases, potential applicants have been told that their proposed projects do not have enough EUREKA-ness and should be submitted as ordinary R01s.

    One thing I wonder: If there is a large enough number of EUREKA applications submitted, it is possible that some will be scored inside the normal R01 payline, but outside what can be funded by the institute’s committment of funds to the EUREKA RFA. Will the institute pay these as regular R01s?

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  5. drugmonkey Says:

    “Will the institute pay these as regular R01s?”

    My bet is heck yeah. They’ll pay them as EUREKAs though, those numbers were minimum levels not maximum. Based on the usual internal (NIH) and external (Congress) politics. What’s not to like?

    These are cheaper than regular R01s and can’t be continued (have they learned the long-term planning lesson yet?). They help with the 4yr average by definition. Most importantly in an era of much grumbling, they make it look like an IC is DoingSomething. Since they didn’t make any commitment beyond the minimum they get to pick and choose. They can therefore use this to pursue their usual agendas.

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  6. PhysioProf Says:

    “They can therefore use this to pursue their usual agendas.”

    Those bastards!

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  7. PhysioProf Says:

    I am trying to finish my EUREKA app and decided to come here to procrastinate a little.

    The EUREKA instructions are really designed to encourage the most grandiose assertions about how totally incredibly awesome it would be if the project works. They actually state the reviewers will be instructed not to distinguish apps on the basis of the likelihood of success of the project, so long as it is non-zero. The “Likelihood of Success” section is really focused on the past history of “exceptional innovativeness” by the PI.

    Damn, I could spend all day writing about how “exceptionally innovative” I am! It’s a lot more fun than “If the approach described in Aim (1)(a)(i) does not work, then we will apply the approach described in
    Aim (1)(a)(ii), and if that doesn’t work…”

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