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January 23, 2019

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IDSA and NIAID Discuss Research Workforce, Career Development Awards

IDSA leaders recently met with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Tony Fauci, MD, FIDSA and other Institute leadership to discuss the NIAID research portfolio and opportunities to optimize the pipeline for the next generation of infectious diseases (ID) physician-scientists. IDSA has urged NIAID to increase existing K award levels, and to consider implementing additional mechanisms to improve the funding landscape for early career researchers, in line with recommendations from the NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative.

Topics at the meeting included consideration of more flexible approaches for early and mid-career mechanisms, the facilitation of interdisciplinary team science, and application of incentives to target critical research gaps. IDSA offered to partner with NIAID to create and participate in an external stakeholder advisory group as discussions evolve and recommended a half-day workshop to support continued momentum. 

Additional next steps include developing proposals and partnerships to strengthen the ID physician-scientist pipeline, such as matching institutional awards for early career investigators and advocating for the allocation of existing awards to ID research. IDSA and NIAID will continue to explore potential avenues for collaboration when the IDSA Board of Directors next meets with Dr. Fauci in March.

IDSA will also continue to urge Congress to increase funding for NIH, NIAID, and other applicable institutes and centers, recognizing that recent vital increases have not yet been sufficient to make up for previous years of more stagnant funding and inflation amidst growing needs.

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