NIAID Revises FY19 K Award Payline
Change Follows IDSA, Stakeholder Advocacy
The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) announcement last month that the FY19 payline for K awards for career development would drop from a score of 18 in 2018 to a score of 14 in 2019 was met with alarm by many who would be impacted. IDSA expressed concern that the low paylines for K awards would limit research objectives and discourage trainees from applying for opportunities important to the development of a strong infectious disease (ID) and HIV physician-scientist pipeline.
At a time when need for infectious disease researchers to combat antimicrobial resistance, global outbreaks, and biosecurity threats is growing, the low baseline funding for career development grants would challenge efforts to bring new ID physician scientists to the field. 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.
Institute leadership has been receptive to IDSA’s recommendations and concerns, and on Nov. 9, NIAID revised its interim paylines to increase the R01 percentile for new and early stage investigators to 18th and announced it would take additional time to determine final paylines for K awards, which staff projected would be set at 18 or higher for the year. IDSA leadership is scheduled to meet with NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, in mid-December to further discuss the NIAID research training budget and opportunities to optimize the pipeline for the next generation of ID physician-scientists.
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, inflation, and growing needs.