NIH Director Announces the "Pathway to Independence Awards" Program
Saying that encouraging independent inquiry by promising new investigators is a major goal for the National Institutes of Health, NIH Director Doctor Elias A. Zerhouni has announced the NIH Pathway to Independence Award Program.
Schmalfeldt: Saying that encouraging independent inquiry by promising new investigators is a major goal for the National Institutes of Health, NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni has announced the NIH Pathway to Independence Award Program. Dr. Zerhouni made the announcement in a teleconference on Friday, January 27th.
Zerhouni: There's no doubt that we must invest in new scientists today as we see a very fast expanding array of possible avenues of exploration in multiple methodologies of research, multiple fields of research. And if we expect to meet tomorrow's challenge, the most important thing I think we need to do is to maintain the momentum in terms of creation of human capital for doing this research in the future.
Schmalfeldt: NIH will issue between 150 and 200 awards for this program in its first year beginning this fall. The agency expects to issue the same number of awards each of the following five years, providing almost $400 million in support of the program. An initial 1 to 2 year mentored phase will allow investigators to complete their supervised research work, publish results and search for an independent research position. The second, independent phase in years three to five will allow awardees who secure an assistant professorship or equivalent position to establish their own research program and successfully apply for an NIH Investigator-initiated grant, the major means by which NIH supports individual scientists in the field.
Zerhouni: This is an announcement that I think today indicates our commitment to making sure, no matter what happens, that talented people with new ideas — which are the core of our success — are supported, and that in the press of budgets and budget adjustments that we do not jeopardize the seeds of the future and we must support them all the way. So, to me nothing is more important than this effort, especially in times of tight budgets.
Schmalfeldt: You'll find more about the Pathway to Independence Award program online at www.nih.gov. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni