BPS Opposes GRANTS Act
In November 2011, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved The Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2011 (the GRANT Act, H.R. 3433). This bill, which aims to increase transparency in the federal grant making process, would require the US Office of Management and Budget to create a central website for grant opportunities that would include making public full grant applications submitted to the federal government as well as the names of peer reviewers for each grant.
The scientific community has mobilized to let Congress know that if the GRANT Act were to become law, it could have unintended severe consequences for federally funded scientific research. The Biophysical Society, along with other societies, sent a letter in February to House leaders explaining that, as written, “this bill could have unintended adverse effects on the continued development of the scientific and engineering research enterprise and compromise the US innovation system.” The posting of the applications would require applicants to share intellectual property that other researchers around the world could steal, not allowing the grantees to reap the benefits of their own research.
The letter also explained how the success of the peer review process depends on the willingness of qualified reviewers to be candid and critical as needed in the evaluation of research proposals and, in fact, without the anonymity provided in the current process, many researchers would not be willing to review proposals. To see the full letter, go to www.biophysics.org/AboutUs/NewsReleases/tabid/2243/Default.aspx.
NIGMS Reorganizes, Absorbs NCRR Programs
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) announced in January that it has established two new divisions that will administer existing Institute programs along with programs transferred to NIGMS from the former NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).
The Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity merges NIGMS research training programs with activities that were previously in the Institute’s Division of Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE). The division also houses the Institutional Development Award program from NCRR. It is led by former MORE Director Clifton A. Poodry.
The Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology includes programs of the former NIGMS Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB), along with biomedical technology programs from NCRR. Former CBCB Director Karin Remington is the division director.
The amount of money allocated to programs in the new divisions will not change as a result of the reorganization or transfer of NCRR programs. Most grants in the new divisions will continue to be managed by the same staff members.
For more information about the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, visit www.nigms.nih.gov/About/Overview/twd.htm.
For more information aboutthe Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, visit www.nigms.nih.gov/About/
NIH Names New Members to the Council of Councils
On December 19, 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the appointments of seven individuals to the NIH Council of Councils. The council was established to advise the NIH Director on policies and activities of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), including making recommendations on research that represents important areas of emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, or knowledge gaps that deserve special emphasis. The council of composed of 27 members nominated by the NIH Institutes and Centers and from the Council of Public Representatives, an advisory committee to the NIH Office of the Director.
A roster with the complete Council of Councils and further information about the members is posted on the council’s website, http://dpcpsi.nih.gov/council/.
The Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, in the Office of the Director, NIH, identifies emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, and scientific knowledge gaps that merit further research. The Division plans and implements trans-NIH initiatives supported by the Common Fund and coordinates research related to AIDS, behavioral and social sciences, women’s health, and disease prevention. Additional information about the Division can be found at http://dpcpsi.nih.gov.
March 2012 Table of Contents