Scientists will be restricted in the number of grants they can receive from the National Institutes of Health under a new policy the agency released this week.
The move is an attempt to spread the wealth to more scientists in the current hypercompetitive research environment, where grant award rates hover around their lowest level in history. The agency estimates the move will free up 1,600 grants to help early- and mid-career scientists, who have been finding it harder to get grants in recent years.
The new Grant Support Index will assign a number value to each grant an investigator has on the basis of the type of research, type of award, and responsibilities, explains Lawrence Tabak, NIH’s principal deputy director. He says the index is an attempt to estimate how much bandwidth each investigator has to continue doing high-quality research.
Although the agency is still working out the details, it estimates the index will limit each investigator to three NIH grants and impact 6% of the agency’s grantholders. The policy would go into effect in this fall for grant applications that would be reviewed in the fall of 2018. Now, 10% of investigators with NIH grants receive 40% of the agency’s funding....I can't imagine this will have a big effect, but it will be until 2019 that we find out...