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October 16, 2019

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NIAID Workshop on Scientific Training & Funding Mechanisms

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases convened a half-day stakeholder workshop last month to review its scientific training portfolio and funding mechanisms. The workshop stemmed from a meeting with NIAID and IDSA leadership focused on the early career research pipeline.

In advance of the meeting, IDSA convened a call with policy staff and leadership from the invited stakeholder groups including the American Society for Microbiology, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and others in the ID and immunology communities, to review organizational priorities and identify areas of alignment. From that call IDSA developed a one-pager outlining key issue areas and committed to working as a group to effect meaningful change through this workshop and future NIAID meetings. Emerging common themes included K paylines and the percentage of institute funding allocated to training; the K to R transition and postdoctoral career development; and opportunities for non-K funding for trainees and junior faculty.

Meeting highlights included:

  • Identifying key questions, roadblocks, and potential solutions for ensuring a robust scientific workforce in NIAID research areas;
  • Categorizing existing external sources of early career support and brainstorming opportunities to work collectively to close research training gaps and increase workforce diversity; and
  • Recommending ways for NIAID and scientific societies, associations, and funders, to jointly develop high performing researchers and scientific leaders.
  • NIAID announced that they have raised Loan Repayment Program funding to $50K per year, up from $35K previously. IDSA conducted significant congressional advocacy to authorize this increase, which was authorized in the 2016 21st Century Cures Act but not previously implemented by NIAID.

Meeting presentations are available here. NIAID will release a draft meeting report later this month, and IDSA will continue to engage with NIH and stakeholder partners to generate additional support for early career ID researchers.

 

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