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  Name  Email Address  Name of Organization  City and StateCommunity interest in an emeritus award that allows a senior investigator to transition out of a role or position that relies on funding from NIH research grantsIdeas for how one would utilize an emeritus award (e.g., to facilitate laboratory closure; to promote partnership between a senior and junior investigator; to provide opportunities for acquiring skills needed for transitioning to a new role)Suggestions for the specific characteristics for an emeritus award (e.g., number of years of support; definition of a junior faculty partner)Ways in which NIH could incentivize the use of an emeritus award, from the perspectives of both senior investigators and institutionsImpediments to the participation in such an award program, from the perspectives of both senior investigators and institutionsAny additional comments you would like to offer to NIH on this topic
  As the experts in nursing research age there is tremendous potential for younger researchers to benefit from their knowledge and experience  RFAs that require a senior and junior scientists as Co-PIs and explains the transition of the laboratory from the senior to the junior investigator. This RFA would involve a training component and a proposal for innovation the junior scientist will take the laboratory  3-5 years. Junior faculty have not received R-series funding and are no more than 8 years post their terminal degree or postdoctoral experience.
  Boston University Medical Center  Boston, MA  Having recently stepped down as Chairman of [] after [ ] years, finding a meaningful role for accomplished researchers, who have contributed significantly to science, has been one of the most difficult decisions I faced. Those who have suggested the universities should contribute are naive, and haven't experienced the attitude of most schools toward life long funded investigators once they lose federal funding. Full disclosure, I am 66 yo, still have federal and private research funding. So it is not for my own interests that I would support this initiative; nor would I support it for investigators who are no longer competitive, or have "lost a foot on their fastball." I would base the award on current potential to contribute and expand expertise of mid career scientists. Examples might be to help train mid-level in new areas that adds to their research project (eg, genetics, imaging, etc  I would oppose funds being used to close a lab. I would recommend that the primary objectives of the award are 1) select a senior level investigator who has a strong history record of high impact research, skilled in a partiicular skill (eg, neuroimaging, genetics, complex statistics, clinical trial design, etc) 2) has a strong record of training success and teaching success. These are different attributes. We all know investigators who produced outstanding researchers, but ran the lab in an autocratic manner, thus losing theses trainees as soon as they got independent funding. Teaching skills are more difficult to quantify than post-doc production, but it critical to success of the field, and will attract the best and brightest to science. I oppose using the funds for transition--that just allows the university to skirt their obligations to retiring faculty. They seem to have that skill down to an art. NIH should use its power to require institutions to have a NIH approved policy for these faculty.  1) strong track record of competitive NIH funding. A totol of 20 years total, the last award within past 3 years 2) an area of science that the candidate is recognized as a leader and innovator 3) partnership with an outstandin junior or mid-level scientist 4) demonstration the benefits that the mentor will bring to junior investigator 5) clear definition of deliverables 6) potential for mentor to work with more than one junior investigator, but strong justification, and emphasis on enhanced results (as opposed to diluting mentor's influence)  1) hard to imagine in short dollar days that institutions would oppose funding of a scientist who has lost funding. However since many medical instututions no longer have tenure, nor honor it for the purpose originally intended, IDC rates and restriction of other activities (lecturing undergrads, etc) could discourage some centers 2) by offering a competitive application process will make it attractive to senior investigators 3) YOU NEED HELP WITH MARKETING THIS IDEA!!!! Right now the criticism on the blog from investigators stem from the presentation. It sounds a little like pork to send out senior investigators out to stud. 4) The award should be determined by ability of mentor to train mid and early investigators. Some examples based on grants I have recently reviewed: training research psychologists in pharmacology, neuroinflammatory process;, psychologists training medical researchers on mechanisms of behavioral change and behavioral treatment platforms, etc  It must be considered a prestigious award, perhaps each named for a pioneer in the field of that IC. It has to funded adequately so mentor is not pressures to perform other duties for the institution. It would be helpful if award came with admintrative support for both individuals. Don't use T 32 criteria, requiring lists of all the trainees one has mentored. That is unreliable. In some large labs trainees rarely work with PI. Try to develop meaningful criteria for teaching talents. Consider a reverse site visit
  Duke University  Durham, NC  Funding has been tight for ten years. Emeritus award does not make sense to me at all. More funding should be spend on young and middle age investigators. If a senior investigator has funding, there is not need to add another award to transition out. If a senior investigator does not have funding, why NIH would want to waste fund for the investigator to transition out? Funding young and middle age investigators is the way to sustain the biomedical workforce.  Such award is at the expense of supporting young scientists. It is a waste.  It will be much more fair, reliable, and productive to let the NIH study sections to pick the junior faculty than let a senior faculty to choose a junior faculty.
  Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT  Cambridge  Faculty already produce inordinate numbers of postdocs who can obtain faculty positions to carry on their work. If the interesting parts of the research have not been adopted based on the inherent promise of the science, then NIH should not expend funds to artificially sustain those lines of research.
  Howard University  Washington, DC  Only interesting to the extent that it provides a soft landing to those involved in the senior investigator's (SI) lab and encourages institution to continue salary line after retirement of SI  As a condition of accepting the award the institution must guarantee that the position will be filled when the SI retires at the end of the award period (note this does not stop the SI from continuing to do research as a senior research associate, many in my field are doing this).  The Final Award for Research and Teaching should not fund any of the senior investigator's salary (support is available from such sources as Social Security/403b etc) or new post-docs or graduate students.
  this is a terrible idea. why give money to senior investigators, there needs to be more money for junior investigators. senior PIs already get the lions share of grant money  huh? no.  do not incentivize an emertus award! ugh.  you're going to have a lot of resentful young scientists on your hands if you do this  I think this initiative is misguided and you need to focus resources on young scientists
  UMass Medical School  Worcester  I think it is a bad idea to earmark resources for senior faculty. Many faculty that would qualify for this support are already eligible for retirement and could shut down their labs with relatively little lost personally and in terms of long term research output. By contrast, each early or mid stage investigator that has to shut down his or her lab is now looking at career change, at a time when they are trying to start their own families or support them at home. The cost both personally and to their long term productivity is enormous. It just doesn't make sense. The fundamental problem is that too many good proposals are overlooked because there is simply not enough resources to cover all excellent research. In such a situation, bad luck and uneven review can impact the likelihood of success as much as the quality of the research. I would rather spend time, effort, and resources on ensuring the fairness of competition than on ensuring the unfairness of competition.  If such an award were to exist, the only way it would be tenable would be to facilitate lab closure... Meaning no new students and no new personnel to be hired, and no more proposals accepted.  3 years max, finish already vetted projects, no new personnel. Honestly I think the program is a bad idea.
  University of New Mexico  Albuquerque, New Mexico  Most, including myself, that I"ve spoken to are not interested funding a new mechanism that diverts precious and declining resources away from funding basic science to another award that deals with career development issues. Also, the word "emeritus" elicits feelings that those who would be eligible are already past the time of their full scientific contribution and is not appropriate to use for such an award. It can still be a "transition" award, much as a postdoc to first faculty, but now from senior faculty to out.  I don't believe providing funding for acquiring new skills for senior faculty is an appropriate way to spend NIH funds, which should focus on funding the best science. Providing mechanisms to facilitate the exit of senior faculty is worthwhile. I think this will help in freeing up resources for younger faculty as well as providing a more smooth transition for senior faculty and their research programs. I see potential problems with encouraging transition to a junior faculty member. First, for many senior investigators, the mode of transition will be to a scientist within their own group (for example, a senior postdoc), who is not often a tenure track faculty member. So this would not facilitate continuation of an independent research program. Second, tenure track junior faculty usually need to develop their own research program rather than continue the work of another faculty member, so encouraging transition of most research awards such as the R01 mechanism should not happen. For larger programmatic efforts, I don't think the NIH needs to be involved. Most universities and PIs of such efforts always consider for transition so this would not require a new award or mechanism.  The most efficient way to facilitate lab closure would be to allow senior investigators greater flexibility in spending their research dollars they've already been awarded. For example, if a senior faculty member is in their 3rd year of an R01 research grant, and wants to retire in 5 years, allow them to apply for an administrative change to spend the remaining funds (on the order of $500,000) over 5-6 years rather than 2 (or max 3 with a NCE). This allows for a slower decline in projects, completion of projects, trainees to finish. This would facilitate laboratory closure without need for additional funds. Another idea is to allow for a supplement application (similar to the minority supplement) that could be given administratively to allow for smaller amounts of money (such as 1 year trainee support, or 1 year lab support) to finish projects. The criteria would be if you apply for either a slowdown, or a supplement for lab closure, you would be ineligible for future research grant applications. Then this cannot be used as a rainy-day fund or a mechanism to just keep funds going until you want to apply for another grant.  I don't think it makes sense to provide money incentives to encourage senior faculty to leave. Most of the senior faculty I know are offended by the notion that they are being "pushed out" in such a mechanism. Plus, most universities have such incentive programs (retirement related), eliminating the need for the NIH to jump into the fray. Instead, facilitate the process for those who are already considering retirement to do so smoothly.  Perceptions. 1. This is a new way to spend money that takes away from research dollars. 2. This will force senior faculty out. 3. This will give money to senior faculty who are less productive.  I have heard that the comments on Sally Rockey's blog will not be considered official responses. While I agree that many are not productive, the tenor and tone of the responses should be taken into consideration by the NIH as they decide whether and how to move forward.
  Wayne State University  Detroit, Michigan  This is an excellent idea, often there is a need to integrate ongoing laboratory plans in a way that do not rely solely on the driving force of a single senior investigator. This could be in the form of the pioneer award for example.  The main area I see for this is to help bring the next generation of investigators in line with the insight of the senior investigator. This might actually be in the form of investigating as yet new ideas that the senior investigator has not yet had an opportunity to follow through on. For example, in our lab the senior investigator probably has two dozen major ideas that have not yet been started, ideas that could change the face of imaging in some cases. How can these ideas be passed down to the next generation? Partly by example, partly by mentoring, and also by perhaps some preliminary investigations over a five year retirement or step down period where the junior investigators step and take charge more and more over the five years.  I recommend five years support for a major effort involving at least one but perhaps as many as 3 or 4 junior faculty.  Not sure this is necessary, but one way would be to ensure that junior investigators could buy out some of their teaching time by having sufficient support during this period.  This could be quite an attractive means by which to probe quite novel ideas. Again like the pioneering awards but these are very competitive and often given to younger people. Also they do not allow good ideas that continue on the current track of even a senior investigator. So the difference here would be good science but no restriction on whether it follows your past expertise and in fact should promote your past history, skills and expertise.  These proposals could range anywhere from the usual R01 funding to extraordinary cases of powerful groups where many ideas may be needed allowing up to at least $500,000 a year in funding for five years.
  University of Maryland School of Medicine  Baltimore, MD  This award appears to be a complete waste of effort. Investigators spontaneously cycle out of their careers at some point. THis is money chasing a bad idea.
  State University of New York  Stony Brook, New York  Forty to fifty years ago, there was a large influx of biomedical research personnel. This group is now retiring and finding it difficult to do so. Yes, there would be considerable interest in finding a way to transition out instead of suddenly going from a career funded researcher to someone administration would like to retire asap.  It would require some salary support to protect the investigator. The investigator could then continue to do collaborative research and teach the use of technologies that have made his research career successful.  Five years should be sufficient, though some would probably request fewer. One or more younger faculty members should be part of the program, insofar as they have an interest in learning new technologies and inheriting the equipment needed for these technologies. These need not be beginning iinvestigators who need mentoring. They could be established investigators who want to expand their capabililties.  Universities and medical schools have come to rely on research funding to their faculty to provide a significant amount of money to run the institution. As long as these awards include the usual overhead and salary offset, the institution will be happy to accept them and faculty will be protected.  This would depend on the specific nature of the program. I am cynical about university administration. If there were no resources for the university, I doubt administration would be very supportive. The investigator would need an office and some small lab space, which would have to be approved by administration.  I think it is a wonderful idea. Retirement is a difficult transition, particularly when it is abrupt. One would love to leave a legacy that work he has done to be successful will continue to be done.
  Duke University  Durham, NC  While I understand the intent of such an award and certainly do not want to offer disrespect to senior scientists, I feel that the MIRA awards already encompass this demographic of the scientific population. Most senior PIs that I know already have 2+ R01s. This certainly true for my department. My sense is that the current NIH initiatives already favor junior and senior PIs, and many of those in the middle (in science for 10-20 years) are being shut out of funding. It's a tough problem, I know, but please don't make it even harder for people to run research programs if they are solid scientists, yet aren't young superstars or well-established long-standing titans.
  Oakland University  Rochester, Michigan  I would have been interested in a way to continue the development of my [ ] hypothesis after formally retiring. I know a number of young investigators that might be willing to carry on the work and would be eager to get suggestions and guidance from me as to what needs to be accomplished to pursue the hypothesis and test it. There are also a number of important experiments that I could have completed if I would have had funds to support collaborative arrangements with specific investigators that have the needed equipment and facilities. For specific example I had lined up a collaborator with AFM experience, but without money I could not continue to impose on her time and facilities.  A small amount of funding that would pay for collaboration with young investigators who have specific skills and an interest in carrying on the work. I have a colleague who is a young theoretician who was willing to collaborate and another who has an AFM suited for aqueous samples. Both projects could have continued my work on the [ ]. Both stopped when I had to close my own lab due to loss of funding in the sequester.  I would envision relatively small awards with funding for travel to the junior faculty's institution and sufficient support to defray the costs of a specific well defined project. These days junior can mean anyone who has at least 15 years of potential productivity ahead of them.  They should be based on senior faculty who have made a substantial contribution that is still a viable area for more investigation. They should be conditional on the institution receiving the award cooperating in providing administrative support and office space. The junior investigator would need to be acknowledged as C0-investigator and benefit in terms of getting credited with a grant.  Speaking for my self and my institution, there is little incentive for the institution to grant research privileges to a recently retired (or unfunded) senior investigator. This makes it difficult for productive seniors to keep contributing by mentoring and collaborating.
  California Institute of Technology  Pasadena  I think focusing on the positive is crucial, specifically building partnerships with junior investigators i.e. tenure track faculty at the junior level. I have held NIH grants going back to 1974 until fairly recently and am still very actively engaged in research and teaching. I have extensive interactions with my junior colleagues. I would be delighted to see NIH develop an emeritus program to facilitate these interactions.  I would recommend limiting this program to active professorial faculty (both junior and senior). I would suggest some minimum period for which the senior faculty would have held NIH grants, say 25 years. I would suggest somewhat smaller grant sizes, say 200K per year with 3 to 5 years support.  I have observed at my institution some spectacularly successful interactions between senior and relatively junior investigators. There is an inherent complementarity between the wisdom and focus that a senior investigator brings to the research activity and the zeal and mastery of new techniques that the junior investigator brings.  One of the rewards of successful aging is a willingness to explore new ideas, new collaborations, etc.. This should be encouraged!  Exellent idea! Best to emphasize the positive - encouraging colleborations between junior and senior faculty.
  University of Maryland Sch of Med  Baltimore, MD  The end of NIH funding can be quite abrupt and senior investigators may not have time to plan for the next stage of their careers. Academic institutions may be similarly unprepared to support such investigators. Thus, investigators who have made major contributions to science may suddenly face harsh consequences, such as salary cuts and unwelcome assignments. I think that an emeritus award is a terrific idea to soften a neglected career transition phase.  All of the above plus: Perhaps a direct role in NIH activities? Many study sections are now conducted remotely. Perhaps experienced investigators could benefit other intra- and extramural NIH functions while keeping their appointments at their primary institutions.  I suspect that the bar would have to be quite high. Twenty years or more of sustained funding would seem a minimum. One link might be to a junior investigator award recipient in the same field or lab.  I don't think an incentive would be required. Merely providing salary support to an accomplished senior investigator would be quite helpful.  None noted  With increased attention paid to junior investigators, I think this is a terrific initiative.
  University of washington  Seattle, WA  From my reading of the blog there is intense community interest in this RFI with almost all responses being (predictably) negative. All except a few seem to see what they imagine this might be as a threat to their piece of the pie.  In my mind this format might be most appropriate for special cases where it can promote an obvious partnership between senior and junior investigators. It should not be yet another way to transition a grant from a retiring investigator to a younger one as many of the bloggers fear. This can already be done and it is not an effective use of grant money. There are situations, which admittedly are somewhat rare and perhaps more common in medical schools where Fellows with clinical duties stay on as faculty. Sometimes they continue research relationships with their mentors. They are usually the best and the brightest in their cohorts. I think there are situations where the two minds working together are better than the sum of the parts.  How about a usual 5-year grant with the ability of the junior investigator to compete for a renewal in the R01 format?  Of course administrators would much rather see the senior investigator continue to garner their full grant support and tack on new grants from the junior investigator. I am not sure what to do abut this, but I have tended to ignore such issues thought my career so I am not a good resource here. If the collaboration is real then junior and senior investigators don't need any additional incentive. It would be nice if such a grant did not exclude the junior investigator from the "new investigator" designation.  I think this is an interesting idea. I would do it in a minute with my bright rising-star junior colleague instead of writing my next solo competing renewal. I am sure this program will not be in place in time for us. So I write without conflict
  University of michigan  Ann Arbor Michigan  I think the best plan is to leave it up to study sections to fund the most competitive R01 proposals. I do not think it is realistic to think about 'passing along' research programs to younger investigators. The key to successful R01 research is autonomy and independence. Each young investigator who has managed to obtain a tenure-track position has their own vision for their laboratory. This autonomy is one of the greatest features of the NIH system. It is not possible to pass along your vision to a younger colleague, it must be their own. I agree with many of the criticisms of the Emeritis Grant concept expressed on Sally Rock's web site, and I hope those comments will be taken into consideration.
  University of Maryland School of Medicine  Baltimore, MD  I would not be interested in an emeritus award only for transitioning out of a research role. An award that recognizes a successful history of mentoring junior faculty would be of great interest, if the award was targeted at preserving the mentoring role (through salary support) even as research support is declining. Rather than link two disparate faculty activities, unlink them and recognize other types of skills.  Several factors bear on the same question. Such an award should be tied to the federal research finding base at each institution, with the number of positions proportional to total support. Faculty applying for the award must be nominated by each University. Outside review is a plus/minus decision either endorsing or rejecting the University nominee. Salary support would be co-funded by University and NIH (50:50) and faculty receiving such an award would reduce their time available for NIH grants by the amount of the award. Award funding creates protected time for mentoring targeted to junior faculty and performance is reviewed annually and contingent on funding success of mentees. This award has no implications for research funding of the same faculty member except for reducing available time.  An emeritus award would be for 3 years with a possible 2 year renewal depending on performance as a faculty mentor. It would be an honorary award co-funded by the University, and would be included in the signature line of recipients. Faculty mentoring would match the awardee with junior faculty in the same general area of expertise but close matches are not necessary.  As stated, the award should be honorific and co-funded. Universities are the main guilty parties here. They benefit much from senior faculty but provide little recognition for mentoring efforts. Beginning in 1997, I create the Post-Tenure Review System for faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Department of Pathology. This plan was very successful and adopted in other departments and schools. We brought dignity to the process of winding down careers and matched end-of-career faculty with important activities that benefited the department and the school.  Risk is the main impediment. You can engineer this out of the system by unlinking this award and regular research funding. These two issue are very distinct. Funding of senior faculty creates jobs and under good circumstances, provides training for success. It is rarely an obstacle to funding for junior faculty.  I was surprised and offended by many comments from junior faculty in response to this proposal. Many people are not competitive and no amount of incentive, payline relief, special study instructions or other things will change that. Indeed, it is difficult for early stage investigators but dilution of the applicant pool must be considered somewhere as contributing to the problem. The rising tide floats all boats and a respectful, functional and productive approach to end of career decisions will impact everyone. If Universities can learn to be more respectful of senior faculty value, we may see substantial changes in the willingness to transition into mentoring roles sooner rather than later.
  University at Buffalo  It does not seem a good use of scarce NIH funds. Senior researchers can easily transition out of an active research role. It is younger investigators who need the support.  The funding should go to junior investigators (perhaps in the way that a Diversity Supplement goes through a funded PI but is used to fund a junior scientist).  This seems like a bad idea to me - senior researchers looking to get out of the grant business do not need funding, it is people seeking to get in or stay in who do.
  CWRU School of medicine  Cleveland, OH  This is creating a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. The system already evaluates grants from these investigator's upon competitive renewal and most senior investigators are savvy enough to wind down their labs appropriately when they feel it is time.  I don't think this award should exist.  I don't think this award should exist.  I don't think this award should exist.  I don't think this award should exist.
  University of Nevada School of Medicine  Reno, NV  This is a terrific idea and one that I think can accelerate the rate of scientific discovery and transition of expertise to a new generation of scientists.  The faculty member that initiates the proposal requests funding for him/herself and a new hire of the replacement faculty member as a new position at the institution occupying the PIs space. The institution guarantees that the PI commits to stepping down as an investigator and transferring resources to the junior hire at the end of five years. Both the PI and the replacement new hire are committed to a research plan that is funded by the grant and uses a multi-PI transition plan. Part of the funding has to be an institutional match as if it were a startup package for the new hire, but can benefit both senior and junior investigators. At the end of the five year period, the new investigator has to have been mentored and ready for tenure consideration.  Support: 5 years Senior PI: 40% support Junior PI: 75% Support Junior PI characteristics: No previous R01 funding. Must be new hire at the institution into a tenure-track or equivalent position. Not an existing faculty member. Institutional Match required. Specific research plan funding shared between junior and senior investigators. Institution guarantees that the senior PI is stepping down from research after 5 years and the lab space is transferred to the junior PI at that time.  Institutional Perspective: 1) guaranteed succession planning. 2) maintains project and expertise. 3) assures success for junior PI. 4) Allows small schools and institutions to continue to compete with institutions with resources they cannot begin to match. Senior PI perspective: 1) Planning retirement or role change with funding support for salary and project. 2) Able to choose successor and invest in the future of the work. 3) Able to capsulize and transmit impact on science to another young scientist. 4) Transitioning with dignity for years of service and impact on science.  This would be a win-win for all. Matching might be seen as a negative but some investment by the institution assures that this is a real effort to benefit science at the institution and really hire a new person to continue the work.  I think this is a great idea. I would want to take advantage of it myself.
  Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT  Cambridge  It seems redundant with the already available option of changing the PI on an existing grant.  Such a program should be assessed for its effects on NIH PI diversity. Those eligible for such an award are presumably predominantly white men. Any grant mechanism that specifically targets a non-diverse population should already be disfavored unless there is a clear and strong benefit to the community overall. But, it should also be studied who these senior PIs are likely to choose to carry on their legacy. Would senior PIs choose junior PIs that are at least as diverse as the existing NIH PI pool? Or would they be biased towards choosing a protege that is similar to themselves (in ethnicity and gender)? Studies indicate the latter would be the case and thus this program would benefit a non-diverse population of junior researchers - in essence, older white male scientists handing over the reins to younger white male scientists. Has Dr Hannah Valentine signed off on this idea?
  Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University  Atlanta GA  I have strong interest in this. It is an excellent idea.  I have closed my research lab and now have a number of opportunities and tasks that benefit the scientific community. These tasks include, generally, committee work, teaching and writing, particularly in the area of drug abuse which has been my focus. I can provide details that support the value of my activities. Without research grants, I am in need to monetary support for a short time until I transition into retirement. Is this mechanism suitable for me?  For transitioning to retirement, perhaps 3 to 5 year awards would be workable.  Impediments could include the need for research space and researchers, lack of additional funds for emeritus awardees.
  University of California Davis  Davis, CA  I am a [ ] year old NIH PI currently on a "recall" appointment after retiring from my University position. Like many (!) of my age peers I am working on bringing junior collaborators with established research programs into our project with the hope that they will pick up the research theme, so important to me, combine with their own programs, and carry on. A formal NIH bridging mechanism to accomplish this would be extremely useful. Junior collaborators are just as focused on their research themes and do not want to "take over" a lab/grant under the direction of a senior colleague.  The senior and junior investigators should have a common interest growing out of an existing collaboration that can be specifically funded. The junior investigator should not be supporting a high salary, low production senior and the senior colleague should not be adding prestige to a proposal irrelevant to their area of accomplishment. Both of these situations currently exist within my experience. Personally I think labs need to be closed because space is so precious. It is often difficult for the university to accomplish this because everybody loves their lab and wants to keep it open. A formal plan to close a lab with NIH goals in mind and some minimal financial support is an excellent solution.  Perhaps the junior partner does not need to be at the same institution or even be faculty or very junior. Even a 5 year difference in career stage may be appropriate. It will be difficult for the award to have a defined endpoint that contributes to biomedical research but this is important as an NIH awards always have to be based in science. One-two years should be adequate for a concerted effort. The junior faculty partner should be taking a lead role in a scientific proposal that utilizes the intellectual, technical and networking expertise of the senior partner. This should be an exciting, innovative scientific proposal conceived by the junior partner. After the award is in place ambitious junior investigators will be looking around for adding this opportunity to their arsenal of potential funding sources.  Putting the NIH stamp on the formal conclusion of an NIH investigators career will be extremely incentivizing to the senior investigator. I think many institutions that still have formal ladder faculty structures for their NIH grants will like the idea. However researchers are now so loosely and temporarily tied to institutions, the home institution may not even be aware of the conclusion of ta senior investigators career. Other institutions (in warmer climates) may try to attract seniors to bring an emeritus award to a less prestigious institution. This needs to be carefully considered as far as the value to NIH.  Institutions will not want to be constrained by a detailed plan for the physical break-up of a laboratory, (reassignment of space and equipment). They might not even want to maintain office space for emeriti. Unless the awards are large the indirect costs will not be useful for the expensive process of laboratory break-up which is sometimes already in a long term renovation/relocation plan. Many senior investigators never want to have a formal conclusion to their research, continuing on at a 5% or 10% appointment and keeping an ever less productive hand in. If there needs to be formal, time specified closing of the lab or research program this may be an impediment.  good idea to work on this topic. please get the award in place before I turn 80.
  Oregon National Primate Research Center  Beaverton, OR  A mechanism to smoothly transition senior investigators out of their roles is VERY important and NIH definitely needs to play a role in helping this take part. Senior investigators who regularly & successfully win grants have every incentive to continue applying for additional grant funding. Institutions want to keep these kinds of investigators as long as possible because they bring in brings money & prestige. Both the institution and the investigator want to have their project(s) continue on as long as possible. However, it's not unusual for an individual to carry the load longer than he/she really should as a result of these pressures. NIH should always encourage the best possible research: not worrying over money & prestige of any particular institution or individual. However, prestigious research frequently is the result of solid funding to long time senior researchers. So it's in NIH's best interest to keep funding a fruitful research program even if the senior researcher who built it no longer heads it.  I'm supportive of the ideas listed for using an emeritus award could include: facilitating lab closure, promoting a partnership between junior & senior investigators, and skill development. However, I'd like to add some new specifics: 1) Facilitating physical lab improvements. It is not unusual that a senior researcher will have been operating in the same physical space for several years. Such a space may not be suitable for long term continuation of the research that took place there. And after moving, the abandoned space may not be suitable for anyone else to readily move in. An emeritus award should include provision of certain renovations in a space the senior investigator has occupied for great lengths of time. For example, a senior researcher perhaps has used the same fume hoods and flammables cabinets for 30 years which have not been updated to keep up with modern standards. In this case, the lab space can't readily be occupied by a different researcher despite serving the emeritus researcher just fine. 2) Facilitating physical lab transfer. A junior researcher taking over from a senior researcher may reasonably want to setup in a fresh laboratory space. Some part of the emeritus grant should include money to provide specialized improvements to a lab space if the junior researcher intends to move the lab out of its older space. 3) (Skill) Development. Skill development needs to include not just junior researchers learning how to fill the shoes of the outgoing researcher. Emeritus faculty also need to have some development too. While some emeritus faculty may intend to leave immediately after a transfer/closure is completed, others may not be as eager to leave. Surely their participation as committee members on review panels or IACUC boards should not end simply because they no longer lead a research team. Maybe a definite plan for what the emeritus researcher will do afterwards should be a condition of the award. 4) Technology Upgrade. Emeritus faculty generally are very resourceful and have accumulated an important collection of equipment, some of which is highly customized and also ancient. Junior researchers would benefit if certain key pieces of equipment were identified and upgraded during a transition period.  The award should be made to a junior faculty partner who has been working with the senior researcher for some length of time prior to the grant submission: minimum 2 years, preferably longer. They don't necessarily need to be working at the same institution: though that would make the transition easier in a lot of ways. If longer distances (>20 miles) were allowed, there might need to be a longer allowable time frame. The grant should run for at least 6 months, but shouldn't run more than 2 years--after all they already have a history of working together.  Institutions will be happy as long as they get money. Whatever overhead they can charge the grant will probably be sufficient motivation for an emeritus award. If grants are given with an inter-institution movement option, then they may be more resistant to the idea and need greater incentive. On the other hand, this option could be presented as an opportunity for institutions to compete for junior investigators who will have a relatively more stable position as a result of the senior investigator's previous work. This might serve to motivate institutions to make themselves more attractive and the potential loss of senior investigators would be offset by the potential gains: securing a younger, promising investigator continuing a well-established, successful program. Emeritus faculty are more complex. It largely depends on why they might want to leave in the first place. Targeting a specific audience seems necessary: eg, senior investigators want to retire altogether might be motivated by the idea of a designated successor getting funded more reliably. Or, targeting a senior investigator not wanting to leave his/her field immediately after stepping down as PI might be motivated by a continued connection to the field with a wholly different, lighter set of responsibilities.  As implied above, many senior investigators keep going because it is what they know, what they are good at and maintains their prestige within the community. Senior investigators may resent newer technologies and techniques in their field. This natural distrust can be critical to successfully developing newer, better methods during a transition period, but may not be readily welcomed. Additionally, some investigators feel "pushed" out by their institution or have problems winding down without pressure. This kind of award may increase unwelcome pressure to step aside for the next generation. Institutions want to keep prestige and money within their own institution. So they may resist if they perceive a loss of prestige, greater funding instability as a result of junior investigators taking over, or if a grant funds an inter-institution transfer.  Some effort should be made to maintain the engagement of senior investigator while directing them gently off center stage. Senior researchers are a valuable resource: NIH and institutions should spend some time trying to figure out ways to relieve senior researchers of their PI duties while keeping them constructively involved.
  University of Virginia  Charlottesville  The way one transitions out of a role or position that relies on funding from NIH grants is to stop writing them and retire. No extra funding needed. Besides, junior and mid-career faculty already face "transition" when we can't get NIH grants. Why should pre-retirement faculty get extra consideration?  Senior faculty should be helping junior faculty every day of their careers, not just saving it for their final years.  Zero (0) years of support for the senior faculty member. All the support should go to the junior faculty member.  I'm sure there will be plenty of outcry from the scientific community on this one, and that should be impediment enough.  This is the worst funding idea I have ever heard from NIH. It's absolutely shameful that NIH would consider diverting their limited funding from active scientists to support those who are at the ends of their careers.
  University at Albany  Albany, NY  Please, NO. Labs headed by early/mid-stage investigators (especially those just past NIA status) are closing all across the country for lack of funding. These are the places where innovative, thoughtful science is being done, and now being lost. An award for 'closeout' is blatantly not needed: lack of funding achieves that, and should be the preferred approach. Almost as bad, funding that targets transition to a specificed junior colleague will promote nepotism and politics over science. This is a horrible idea.
  University of Michigan Medical School  Ann Arbor, MI  In my opinion, it is a major mistake to keep coming up with different award mechanisms that further decrease the pool of money that can go to R21 or R01 awards. If you are concerned with trying to balance the different ranks of investigators in the workforce, review applications from assistant professors as a group, associate professors as a group and full professors as a group (as you already do for predoc and postdoc fellows). You will always be able to make sure you are supporting a balanced workforce, and if senior professors choose not to retire, their pool will get more and more competitive - a natural incentive for moving their talents in a different direction. This system still maintains the focus on the most meritorious grants, but compares merit between investigators of reasonably equivalent experience. If you are concerned that people will not move up in rank to stay in the junior pools, you can change it to time from the start of faculty position, or something like that.  I think it is an egregious use of the taxpayers' money to give awards to full professors to facilitate laboratory closure, acquisition of new skills, etc. This is really the job of the University that employs them. NIH should not be paying for this, and if it does so, will just exacerbate the current problem of academic addiction to NIH funds to cover lots of things that the Universities themselves should be paying for.. Senior/junior faculty partnerships are perfectly possible with current mechanisms.  None. There should not be such an award.  Don't incentivize it. Incentivize universities to depend less on NIH money by limiting the total amount of salary that investigators can put on grants to 50%.  I know these ideas are brought forth with the best of intentions on your part. Please consider in future getting the response of the academic community before final decisions are made (i.e., new biosketch format, etc), and seriously take into account the responses you hear. Sadly, bureaucracy has already largely taken over the practice of science. We need to decrease the numbers of arcane requirements and awards, not increase them. Thank you in advance for taking seriously the feedback of your PIs.
  University of Michigan  Ann Arbor MI  Professors at univeristies fullfill the academic mission through teaching, doing research and performing service. The tripartite role/responsibility is expected from junior, midcareer and senior professors. If professors are to "move into" other roles, that is the responsibility of the University and its schools, colleges and departments to enable. This is not the mission of the NIH. The NIH should fund meritorius peer-reviewed grants.  Professors do in fact mentor junior colleagues extensively. Professors do collaborate with junior collagues and 'bring them into' new fields. Professors are responsible for reasonable and timely lab closing. Is it really the responsibility of the NIH to provide opportunities for moving into a 'new role' that is not research-intensive? The suggested ideas, in parentheses above, are not the responsibility of the NIH.  Just the thought that this would need to be "incentivize(d)' makes one question the overall merit of the proposed award.  What is the underlying objective? Perhaps it is to get more senior people to stop applying for grants. The rationale for the award in the Request for Information is not clear, and ranges from ideas about continuation of research programs, to senior people moving into other roles, to dismantling programs.
  This is an interesting idea that may work in very few instances of still very productive senior investigators. By the time they retire into emeritus status, most of them are prepared to transition due to changes in research priorities or a simple burnout from the PI status.My concern is that the funding environment is so tight and so many talented younger investigators get lost from the pipeline due to the lack of funding that developing essentially an infrastructure grant will deprive many more with fresher and more modern views, skills, and ideas.  Partnership and mentorship roles would be most helpful.  2-4 years depending on the circumstance. Junior partner should be senior enough to take over the laboratory and apply for independent grants within the timeframe.  make the use of it flexible for salary support of the faculty member or a junior partner, or the projects.  The Definitions of the emeritus and the pressures for the departments to have very few emeriti on recall or needing additional support.
  Techshot, Inc.  Greenville, Indiana  There is community interest. Thank you Sally (I love your blog)! You have introduced an opportunity for which I have been waiting for some years – emeritus awards for continued research. I have been distributing this idea informally for a couple of decades and may have suggested it to some NSF officials, themselves in a similar age category. I have been using the term “Late Academic Service Transition” awards to be created by all U.S. agencies that fund research. (There may be a better acronym in your message: Emeritus Award for Senior Investigator Transition (EASIT)). Here are some thoughts on content: • Applicants write and submit proposals of activity(ies) • The bar should be fairly high • Stipends should go directly to individuals • Non-competitive renewals up to four times, dependent on acceptable annual report of activity • Activity consistent with the proposal • Not to exceed $20K/year • Should include supplies, services, travel, etc. costs, including up to $10K/y for fully unemployed • Application process should minimize paperwork burden Caveats: There are now several PI’s over 80. This should continue and they should continue to apply through standard routes: R01, etc. Age discrimination should be avoided. For those with discontinued affiliations the picture is different. Most emeritus types have retirement-related income, which is not necessarily an incentive to continue tutoring, mentoring or performing research functions, keeping in mind that there are emeriti from all three: academia, industry and government. One purpose, at least applicable in my case, is the publication of unfinished original scientific work. I may be an extreme example, but I have at least 100 manuscripts either unwritten, unsubmitted or unpublished. My estimate of the AVERAGE cost of producing a scientific paper of just about any type (averaged over research articles, research notes, letters, reviews all in the mix) is about $50,000, probably more, due to recent rampant inflation of the U. S. dollar. I insert that the range is from $5,000 to $5,000,000. Roughly this means that funding the writing and submission of 100 papers averts wasting at least $5 million, most of them from taxpayers. Publishing 4 papers/year, for example, would be $5K/paper – a 90% recovery of average cost. The term “Transition” has at least two potential meanings: transition FROM a terminating professional appointment (beginning) and transition INTO discontinued productivity (end). My Take: I am 78 years old and still failing retirement. I do not necessarily consider myself a recipient, but I understand the circumstances fairly well. If this existed 15 years ago I would have retained a university relationship and continued in university life as a mentor, occasional teacher, adviser, etc.  Here is an example: One purpose, at least applicable in my case, is the publication of unfinished original scientific work. I may be an extreme example, but I have at least 100 manuscripts either unwritten, unsubmitted or unpublished. My estimate of the AVERAGE cost of producing a scientific paper of just about any type (averaged over research articles, research notes, letters, reviews all in the mix) is about $50,000, probably more, due to recent rampant inflation of the U. S. dollar. I insert that the range is from $5,000 to $5,000,000. Roughly this means that funding the writing and submission of 100 papers averts wasting at least $5 million, most of them from taxpayers. Publishing 4 papers/year, for example, would be $5K/paper – a 90% recovery of average cost. The term “Transition” has at least two potential meanings: transition FROM a terminating professional appointment (beginning) and transition TOWARD discontinued productivity (end).  I have been using the term “Late Academic Service Transition” awards to be created by all U.S. agencies that fund research. (There may be a better acronym in your message: Emeritus Award for Senior Investigator Transition (EASIT)). Here are some thoughts on content: • Applicants write and submit proposals of activity(ies) • The bar should be fairly high • Stipends should go directly to individuals • Non-competitive annual renewals up to four times, dependent on acceptable annual report of activity • Activity consistent with the proposal • Not to exceed $20K/year • Should include supplies, services, travel, etc. costs, including up to $10K/y for fully unemployed • Application process should minimize paperwork burden Caveats: There are now several PI’s over 80. This should continue and they should continue to apply through standard routes: R01, etc. Age discrimination should be avoided. For those with discontinued affiliations the picture is different. Most emeritus types have retirement-related income, which is not necessarily an incentive to continue tutoring, mentoring or performing research functions, keeping in mind that there are emeriti from all three: academia, industry and government.  There are now several PI’s over 80. This should continue and they should continue to apply through standard routes: R01, etc. Age discrimination should be avoided. For those with discontinued affiliations the picture is different. Most emeritus types have retirement-related income, which is not necessarily an incentive to continue tutoring, mentoring or performing research functions, keeping in mind that there are emeriti from all three: academia, industry and government. Stipends should go directly to individuals. • Non-competitive renewals up to four times, dependent on acceptable annual report of activity • Activity consistent with the proposal • Not to exceed $20K/year • Should include supplies, services, travel, etc. costs, including up to $10K/y for fully unemployed • Application process should minimize paperwork burden . If this existed 15 years ago I would have retained a university relationship and continued in university life as a mentor, occasional teacher, adviser, etc.  Most senior investigators love to do the work. They do not love to fill out government forms: applications, reports, certifications, etc. Someone at the agencies will need to create a very different paradigm for paperwork management. Annual reapplications should be non-competitive and require only a brief, unformatted progress report up to four times. Beyond that they should be competitive again, but submitted in a user-friendly way that is more like this form than like Grants.gov. As mentioned above, genuine senior investigators wishing to retain their institutional affiliations should apply through normal institutional channels. An emeritus affiliation, unsalaried, should, nevertheless make a senior investigator eligible for a direct emeritus award.  My Take: I am [ ] years old and still failing retirement. I do not necessarily consider myself a recipient, but I understand the circumstances fairly well. If this existed 15 years ago I would have retained a university relationship and continued in university life as a mentor, occasional teacher, adviser, etc.
  Harvard Medical School  Boston, MA  This is an excellent idea  I think there shouldn't be a specific version of this award. Rather, the investigator should propose what they want to do. There are many possibilities besides what is contemplated. Besides finishing off some experiments in the lab or helping a junior partner, here are some other ideas. 1) Writing review articles; 2) Serving on study sections; 3) Larger-scale reviewing of papers; 4) annotating data in ways useful for the field; 4) Extensive teaching beyond the usual expectations in the department; 5) organizing research activities in the institution. I'm sure there are many other possibilities. I think the grant should be submitted with the ideas of the individual and then judged. There shouldn't be biases on what such a grant should look like  Number of years of support should depend on what is being proposed. I don't think there should be fixed number And, the grant can be renewed if the proposed activities are worth it. I imagine the level of award will be roughly equivalent to a summer salary or equivalent (20-25% of normal salary), but it would depend on what is being proposed. I don't think the junior faculty member should be a requirement, nor should there be some specific definition. There is no reason to restrict what an emeritus scientist should do. Just judge the proposal on its merit  By advertising the award, particularly the open-ended nature of it (see previous comments), I think that will incentivize the individuals who are appropriate  Psychological. It is a big deal to transition from running a research lab to being an emeritus scientist doing something very different  Please be open-minded about how this could work. NIH has a tendency to be very restrictive about new ideas, which is very self-defeating and often a waste of money
  Emeritus professors and those over the age of 65 continue to outcompete all other age groups for federal funding. I refer you to your own publication http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2012/02/13/age-distribution-of-nih-principal-investigators-and-medical-school-faculty/ At some point you have to ask how many more advantages you would like senior and emeritus faculty to have. If you want to judge the community interest, I refer you to the comments on Rock Talk. Even the emeritus faculty writing there generally thing this is too much of a money grab.  Most senior and emeritus faculty who would apply for this mechanism would undoubtedly retain any additional funding for their own use to continue work for which R01 funding had not been received.  It should not be introduced.  It should not be used.  I am sure that senior faculty would be delighted with the program, as would the institutions taking indirects.  I recognize that the NIH is run by people who will be greatly personally benefitted by this award, which is why I am certain that it will be created. However, at some point the NIH will have to look at the ways in which it is damaging the future of American biomedical research and ask if it is worth it to allow the continued personal enrichment of senior faculty.
  University of Florida  Gainesville, FL  I think you will find a good deal of interest in such a program. I would certainly consider it, when the time is right. I am certain that administrations could see the benefit of transitioning an expensive laboratory from a senior investigator to a more junior investigator. The cost of start-up for a newly hired junior investigator could be reduced, and the mentored junior investigator could be more immediately productive by not having to set up a new lab from scratch. This would of course require a cooperative hiring process between the junior and senior investigators.  The most appealing use of such an award would involve an active senior investigator transitioning to either another role (e.g. administrative or retirement), phasing out his or her PI duties, while passing along the lines of research and infrastructure to a junior faculty member.  I suggest a 3 year award at 50% FTE to transition a lab and infrastructure to a junior faculty member. I think the K99 type of relationship is similar, though I think this award could broaden the definition of "junior" to include early career, perhaps initially funded researchers. University administrators might find it too much of a gamble to bet on too junior a faculty member.  Funding is the primary incentive for both Junior and Senior investigators. For Universities, the indirect rate equivalent to an R01 is an additional incentive.  The biggest impediment for what I have suggested above, is probably the identification and recruitment of a suitable junior faculty member who has appropriate credentials for the Junior-Senior partnership. I think it should be a joint proposal between these individuals, not a proposal by the senior investigator only. Support agreements from University Administrators would also be required, specifying the arrangements.
  BIDMC-Harvard Medical School  Boston, MA  First: Under no circumstances do I think a senior investigator should be penalized for age, nor do I agree that the 7% of PI who are over 65 are anything but an asset. For the most part these are people like me who take pride in fostering new investigators.At the same time I do not think any special advantage should be given to this group when it comes to peer review. As far as peer review is concerned age should not be a consideration. Please keep it as much as possible on a basis of meritocracy. My personal perspective: I would love to have someone to take over the program i have developed. Currently this consists of a T32, a T35, and two R01 grants. It would be a shame to lose this for all parties, me personally, my institution, my specialty, surgeon clinician-scientists, and NIH. If I quit tomorrow it is very likely this productive public investment would all be lost. Thus, to me there is some value in paying some attention as to how to maintain continuity. I stress I am speaking from a personal situation.  The one item that occurs to me is to have some ability to recruit one or two people who could carry this enterprise forward.Closing a productive laboratory and research training center is expensive and counterproductive to the interests of all parties and the NIH mission.  I do not suggest funds for myself. Rather I would like to have some funds available under my jurisdiction to recruit a successor. This is especially true when trying to recruit a clinician-scientist. There are many factors that come into play as that person has to fit into the clinical picture as well as the research side.  I have no easy answer. One possibility is an award to fund a clinician scientist where the funds would be allocated only under control of the PI so if the clinician leader wanted to participate the PI would be in a position to enforce adequate research time and resources for the recruit. Perhaps a matching package from the department or institution so the recruit would have funds for admin support and laboratory assistance. Space and equipment would not be a significant issue other than an office in the laboratory area. In any case the PI would have to be in a position to withdraw support if the clinical department did not maintain its commitments. I  Accommodation by the clinical mission is the problem. The value of clinical work far exceeds that of laboratory investigation, so a clinician investigator needs some added value to maintaining a research commitment. The hospital is a clinical enterprise so the pressure on clinical chiefs is to maximize clinical productivity. Most clinical chiefs would welcome a force to justify research in the department. As is stands this does not exist. Another thought that may be related in a global sense: The hospital consumes overhead with no internal monitoring of how it is spent. Can you give investigators some mechanism to attest to appropriate support of research activities.All most chiefs hear is " your dollar density (a contrived number) is not adequate". This is far second to " your clinical volume is down". Think of ways you can make sure your money is well spent in this complex milieu.  Dr. Rock: Great work in opening up communication with your extramural investigators.Sorry to not write more but I am happy to further discuss anytime.
  Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons  New York NY  There should be high interest in such a program because there is a gap between senior investigators like myself - still funded and very active at age [ ] yrs and the next level - most of us work with Asst Professors in their late 30 or early 40s who are struggling for independent funding. A transition of knowledge with mentoring would be terrific for that group.  I think that there should be a separate funding mechanism - a "senior K24" type grant that would allow, over a 5 yr period, a gradual reduction in effort. It would be for scientists over 65 or maybe over 70 who still have grants that would be ending and rather than attempting to continue funding via that grant, they would choose this pathway. But it would likely need to be linked to an R01 for the junior person who would take up the work of the senior investigator. Obviously, the junior person would have to be funded at the same time and there could possibly be some 'bonus' given to the young person if the senior investigator moved off the grant but applied successfully for the transition-mentoring award. I do not think that there should be a category of grants that allow senior investigators to shut down their lab over several years - either they are still productive or not. However, there could be a one or two year extension, without a chance for renewal, of the present grant with some modest level of funds to buffer the staff and the investigator.  I think I put all of that in #2  see above  I don't see any downside to my suggestions - the senior person gets to mentor over 5 yrs, with diminishing support - maybe 50% first year and 20% last year - and the junior person picks up a successful line of work in which they have ben Co-I and now they get their chance to be independent.  no
  University of Kentucky  Lexington, KY  This idea lacks merit. It is a wonderful idea to provide mentorship to junior faculty and support senior faculty with knowledge. But to do it through this kind of mechanism is a waste of precious research dollars. It is the job of a faculty member to give mentorship and the job of the institutions that employ them to provide this support. Furthermore, this seems to only really be necessary for those institutions that rely on hiring faculty only on soft money (i.e. private) and not those with hard money lines (e.g. public universities). I strongly oppose this emeritus award.  Paying someone to close a lab is ridiculous. If you must implement this kind of wasteful award, having someone work in the lab of a junior investigator might be an interesting alternative. Bridging productive senior faculty to new areas of research could be a useful way to use this money.  This award has a high probability of being wasted. Faculty on the way out of research are more apt to take the money and relax knowing the end is in sight. You need to guard against that by first, not awarding this kind of mechanism. Second, if you insist on wasting money this way, you need to make sure the awardees have the character to give back. Evidence of career long mentorship should be a must and letters of support from chairs and faculty previously mentored a requirement.  Really? You think people need to be incentivized to take your money? Many of us are struggling to keep our research programs afloat with the severe cuts to our grants and your trying to figure out ways for people to take your money? Please, keep this money in research and don't waste it with this kind of mechanism. Please.  Free money with no institutional commitment? What impediments could there possibly be? Who comes up with these questions?  Pretty please do not waste my tax dollars with this program. If you are looking for ways to invest in research, try helping the investigators that are just getting their first competitive renewals. They are currently the ones with the greatest need since they don't get the benefit of being new investigators anymore and have not the track record of the most senior faculty. This is the group with the greatest need, not people retiring from research.
  University of Tennessee Health Science Center  Memphis, TN  I believe that there is very little interest in an emeritus award. In fact, I believe that there are pretty strong feelings against this idea. Most investigators believe that the transition of senior investigators to different roles should be the natural result of their own interests and their competitiveness for R01 funding. Why should there be a program to support senior investigators who might not be competitive any more, or to support a junior investigator who is only competitive because of the senior investigator?  I think that this is a bad idea. The transition should be the responsibility of the senior investigator and the institution.  None.  I don't think this should be incentivized.  Most investigators feel that NIH should concentrate on supporting investigator-initiated R01's rather than creating a mechanism that would either encourage a delay in the transition of a senior investigator or would prop up a junior investigator who is not competitive on their own.
  Washington University in Saint Louis  Saint Louis, Missouri  I have no interest in seeing this award move forward. It is unclear to me how this is a substantial improvement on existing mechanisms for transitioning faculty out of active research. As a junior faculty member, I am a co-investigator on an R01 with my PhD advisor, who is in his mid 70s and still very productive. It is easy to see transitioning to a more active role in the research program in this context, or continuing collaborations in which I take an increasingly dominant role (some of which is happening already). The current mechanisms seem more than adequate. (Comments on the RockTalk blog from senior PIs who are having trouble getting funded at the 35th percentile only reinforce the point - we are ALL having trouble being funded at the 35th percentile!)  One important (though likely unintended) consequence of awards aimed at senior faculty is a decrease in diversity. Senior scientists are statistically much more likely to be white men; an award aimed at supporting senior scientists thus preferentially supports white men. Such an approach harms the overall diversity of the research workforce and countermands several calls for increasing diversity in NIH funded researchers.
  Harvard Medcial School  Boston, MA  This sounds like a good idea to me. HHMI has something like this, and people use it. I've heard positive feedback from a couple of later career HHMI scientists about how it allowed them to rationally plan their late career.  I feel NIH grant money should be used to support research. My sense it this path would mainly be useful in allowing planning of a phased reduction in research activity. But the idea of support to work int he lab of a junior colleague is interesting. Well established labs often have amazing collections of samples, reagents and data. I think it might be useful to use this type of funding to make some of those collections accessible to the community. For example, to facilitate documentation of clones and transfer to a public repository. Or to facilitate digitization of micrographs or other types of research output. I wish more 16mm movies of cell behavior has been transferred to digital media, for example. Electron micrographs are another resource. That said, senior investigators may over-value their treasure troves, so some kind of affidavit of value to the community should be required. I like the idea of incentivizing older PIs to work in the groups of younger PIs and for younger PIs to welcome them and benefit. That could be a cost effective appproach, and would help build community and continuity. It would be important that progress made by the older PI could be credited to the progress reports of the younger PI. This could be achieved by linking the older PIs award to some award of the younger PI. So the younger PI effectively gets a boost in their funding.  I would look to the HHMI model since its been running for a while. I think number of years would have to be longer than a 4-year grant to make this attractive. Id imaging 3-5 years at current support level, then phased down over another 3-5 years. A concern might be that this award would primarily support retirement plan contributions of aging faculty on soft money, which would not be a good use of scarce resources. I would suggest an upper limit on PI salary, and perhaps an uppper limit on % of award going to PI salary.  From a senior faculty perspective, a longer duration award would be a significant incentive. We all fear competing renewals. A 8-10 year award would look attractive I think. However, it might be important to build in some sort of review to ensure continued productivity, esp given possibly declining health. Institutions would want to maximize extraction of faculty salary from NIH I suspect. HMS has quite a lot of senior investigators who are unfunded or under-funded, and their salary is a significant resource drain. Its supposed to be covered by endowment income, but there is never enough of that. The perspective of younger PIs who might host a senior collaborator in interesting. If the older PI paid there own way int he younger PI's lab, including on experimental expenses, they would be quite attractive I think.  Fairness is an issue. A major plus of the RO1 program has been an equal playing field for everyone, regardless of status and history. If there was a mechanisms to facilitate one PI working int he group of another, and linking progress on their (smaller) award to the progress of the host PI, I dont see why this should have to be restricted by seniority. I can imagine PIs using it to facilitate career transitions at any age. Faculty salary is an issue. Most institutions are now to some extent, or even largely, soft money with respect to faculty salaries. Our retirement plans are based largely on employee contributions. This creates a situation where faculty are incentivized to bring in salary from NIH for as long as possible.  I like the idea of incentivizing younger Pis to host senior PIs as collaborators and group members, and vice versa. Defined benefit pension plans together with cheaper, taxpayer subsidized healthcare, make rational late career planning much easier in Europe.
  University of California Irvine  Irvine, Ca  There is strong evidence that the Community, both scientific and general community, are interested in maintaining and promoting the scientific value of the senior investigators and what they provide in terms of experience, and resources that they accumulated over the years including intellectual resources as well as other resources including biospecimens and mega data that can be built on by junior investigators. This can be the push to jump start the careers for many junior investigators and at the same time reduce research cost. i  Planning and implementing such a program nationwide is timely and vital in this climate of limited research dollars and very limited graduate students support which is leading to a significant reduction in scientific power to solve important current scientific/medical/health care problems. As an example; at this time I requested from the university to allocate partial FTEs o my department to hire 3 assistant professors where the research funding is supporting their other half FTEs and we formed a research cluster with the resources of data, biospecimens and populations understudy that I have as a senior investigator are now available to these junior faculty to get them started with publications, research applications and collaborations. This model can work if the funding is available from NIH in a much efficient way  An emeritus award should be at least for 3 years up to 5 years. There should be evidence for previous peer reviewed grants and contracts and evidence of availability of resources as well as evidence for institutional support for the application. A junior faculty can be either in a tenure or non-tenure track at the university at the assistant professor level where ther would be eligible for a K or R awards.  Perhaps a pre-award of $50,000-100,000 based on a short letter of intent to put together a cluster of a senior and 2-3 junior investigators and prepare documentation of the available resources and objectives of the research if fully funded,would be a good insentive for the design of such a program and would be a commitment that would help insentivise the institution and the senior investigator to make the next step forward.  From the point of view of the senior investigator, it is a serious and a big commitment of time and effort with the understanding that this is based on their commitment to mentoring, society and the advancement of science and medicine. for the institution, it is mainly cost. However the advantages certainly out way the cost issue. They will gain new successful faculty and more NIH standing and funding  Thank you for thinking of this potentially fantastic program and opportunity
  The Ohio State University  Columbus, OH  Please find a way to support mid-career investigators (meaning those of us that are late associate/new full professors). We were the post-docs that provided the workforce for the emeritus faculty, and we are the workforce training the next generation. It is almost impossible to do this without sustainable funding. You are losing a critical component of your scientific workforce.
  Indiana University  Indianapolis, IN  Currently, one has to have an R grant to have a competitive K award. It seems like this is simply a mechanism to allow someone with past R success to have a K award to mentor. Working with the existing award mechanisms seems like it would address the problem you are trying to solve. Emeritus in academics means retired - so best to pick a different word so we don't equate this award as being only for those in the 60's or 70's.  Best use of senior faculty is to help develop the junior faculty - if they could be supported by a K without having concurrent R grant funding, that would meet the need. I cannot imagine NIH supporting role transitions - there already isn't enough funding for the research and mentoring that needs to be done.  Use mentoring K criteria  Not sure why this is needed other than to support senior faculty to develop junior faculty  if this affects availability of research funding for junior faculty or trainees, that will be a big problem.
  No, I do not favor such a mechanism. The concept of paying for a transition AWAY from health-related research does not serve the mission of the NIH. Senior investigators have achieved much in their careers, I appreciate that. I also appreciate that they have not gotten this far without developing a skill set that will allow a seamless transition without a new funding mechanism.  I am concerned that the junior partner will either lose some degree of independence and project control through such an arrangement, or that most of these partnerships will be supporting a senior PI and their postdoc. This relationship has already achieved the training and project "hand off."  If the award is serving a purpose, filling a need, that is the incentive. It should be inherent, no additional incentive needed.  I am very confused by this concept. Apparently, this is targeted to senior investigators who already have NIH funding ("a position that relies on funding from NIH"), but seeks to offer a new award, and even incentivize it. I can only imagine a few special cases where anything like this would be needed that isn't already available. The most likely is the case of a valuable research tool or reagent that needs to be passed on. Potentially a complex technique, a novel surgical model, or an array of useful cells. PubMed Central has become an outstanding repository for published information, maybe the NIH should consider a similar, publicly accessible physical clearinghouse for reagents in the same spirit as PMC is for knowledge. Still, the current RFI does not seek input about developing a tissue and cell archive. Nor does it ask about ideas to preserve challenging techniques, analogous to the Journal of Visual Experiments which could record the nuance of a specialized technique. I am opposed to this concept of providing a new funding mechanism, available only to the successful "senior" scientists. It excludes midcareer folks who may wish to transition, excluding the scientists who had to transition without help, and ignoring the historical unintentional biases that will mean the eligible investigators for this prize are more likely to pair with a junior investigator who shares certain cultural features (gender, ethnicity). Unspoken in the RFI is the concept that such a transition award could be considered to be in place of other NIH funding, the emeritus package instead of a renewed R01. That would explain the need to incentivize the award for the senior researcher and the institution. However, the more likely use is "in addition to" current funding. Money sticks to money and success begets success. This award will reward the well-funded PI with more resources. Follow the science instead, invest in R01 funding. Let study section members do their job to identify merit, and let academic departments ease the transition to retirement of their faculty. Raise the modular cap. Lower the salary cap (yes, lower); usecollective bargaining to reduce the annual growth of biomedical inflation (target large suppliers for unscrupulous shipping and handling fees, inflated disposable costs).
  Virginia Commonwealth University  Richmond, VA  Excellent idea. A lot of talent and expertise is lost when early retirements and departures occur due to lack of funding. Established laboratory resources and equipment may wind up in surplus storage or discarded. A well though out transition plan could assure resources are strategically placed for maximum usage.  1. Recruitment plans that provide resources for both the emeritus mentor and the young investigator to execute a transition plan over a fixed time period. 2. Laboratory closure awards that assure years of data (unpublished as well as published) are made available for future researchers and not discarded 3. Preservation of data, equipment, and information of unique or historical scientific significance.  1. Awards of 2-3 years would optimize transition of information, techniques, and completion of unfinished projects and data analysis. 2. Perhaps have different award categories with different goals ( transition-transfer awards, completion-close out awards, mentoring-advising awards). 3. Transition-mentoring to individuals that are at time point in career that leaves sufficient years going forward to obtain return in investment (5-10 years before retirement). Include pay back clause.  1. Senior investigators-emeritus awardees may be incentivized by: a. Ability to stay engaged or participate in research on a full time or part time bases b. Having an office and access to university resources c. Having control over a modest budget and avoiding out of pocket expenses d. Being able to make a difference in career of mentee  1. Institutions may have regulations that limit an individual in emeritus status 2. Cost of health benefits and required compensation could be significant  This is a great idea. The loss of significant talent and expertise could be avoided by a well thought out program.
  FredHutch Cancer Center  Seattle, WA  I personally believe that this is a very meritorious concept that should be seriously considered by the NIH. It would allow smooth transitions of senior and junior investigators to provide continuity of research trajectories and expertise of personnel and would damper “bottlenecks” in which meritorious research directions could otherwise become extinct.  My perception is that the strongest rationale would be to promote a partnership between a senior and junior investigator during which the junior investigator can hone the skill set to transition to a new role. It also might be used to help the junior investigator obtain a new faculty position that is more suited to continuing research. An example, might be the case in which meritorious research becomes unfashionable due to a current fad and the junior investigator could extend their career and the research progress by moving to a new institution.  It’s my perception that a window of three to four years would be appropriate. Given the new trend of hiring junior investigators as staff scientists rather than faculty track, it seems to me that the applicant pool should include any candidates from the level of staff scientist to assistant professor. My personal belief is that this award should be extended to staff scientists as well as faculty track investigators because the pool includes individuals such as women and minorities who are currently not appropriately represented in faculty positions even if their research is highly meritorious. This is the pool with the greatest potential loss to the research community without an Emeritus Award for the transition.  It’s my perception that both senior and junior investigators would be highly incentivized by the existence of the award as an opportunity for both. The senior investigator could transition out of an active research lab, which would be much more pleasant than closing it down. The junior investigator would get the funding need to transition the laboratory to the future.  The major impediment for both investigators could be the institution, which might not want to support the transition. This could be avoided if the investigator (especially the junior investigator) could move with the grant towards the middle to end of the funding period.  I am a senior investigator and I think this idea is great! I have heard some of my senior investigator colleagues argue that the NIH should just (somehow, miraculously) find more funds for junior investigators. This is (1) unrealistic and (2) not responsive to the need to assure continuity of research directions. I feel very strongly that the continuity of research directions should be encouraged by the NIH unless they are proven false or non-essential for the NIH mission. Entire lines of research can become extinct if fads hold sway in the peer review process. I’ve seen this in my career, and I’ve also witnessed this fad-driven research harm the NIH mission by reducing the diversity of the NIH research portfolio. It’s my perception that the Emeritus Award by preserving a diverse range of research through transition periods would serve the public health much better than the vast majority of huge initiatives concentrated in one small area. I have benefited from several great mentors and their ideas lived on through me; it would be a privilege for me to honor them by continuing that tradition. In summary, this is a great opportunity to improve diversity of research investigators across the NIH.
  University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus  Aurora, CO  I have been advocating fo this type of fudning mechanism, or somethings similar, for a number of years. There is a serious paucity of those of us who are senior URM faculty AND with a track record of strong, continuous R01 funding. Yet, we've been pulled in so many directions during our career, to help our institutions, departments, and programs in the recruiting and retention, mentoring and advising, of other URM trainees and faculty. All of these efforts are unfunded, have no impact on promotion or subsequent R01 renewals, and take significant amount of time- time that majority faculty don't have lose, making it even more difficult for URM faculty to compete, on top of hidden biases. NIH should recognize the value of these senior, wise, expereinced faculty to the success of their current investment in URM trainees; and this type of award/support would be amazing and have clear impact.  1. Require that the institutions provide "hard money" salary support contribution and provide some minimal level of admin support for scheduling etc. 2. Little help is rquired to close a alba, other than to secure salary fudning for the faculty, as the NIH % effort is lost. So if this award provides %efort, then that is the key. I suggest that it be handled like a Fogarty Sabbatical Award - the waward provides ~50% of FTE, with the insitution providing the other 50%; thw award should be for 5 years, renewable once for a total of 10 years max; clear plans for mentoring and nurtuing URm and women faculty should be required, with names and BIoSketches of those to be mentored being included; a mentoring plan should be detailed but NIH should not be proscriptive, and accept a varaiety of mentoring plans.  Listed above.  1. Name the Award - the Henry B. Gonzales Award, the whatever award, give it cache 2. Make it clear that it is a true honor and "merit" award, for URM faculty who ahve had R01 fudning over "n" of years, and are now transitioning to mentoring efforts primarily in the latter stage of their career (set an age limit, eg 55 and older??) Or would it be allowed to hold BOTH R01 fudning and this Mentor award? This would help in the transition. 3. Use plenty of PR for the faculty selected, for NIH, and so that the institution gains PR as well. 4. Establish an annula nationalmeeting of the awardes to discuss best practices, discuss specific problems they have faced and how they have overcome them, and to invite some of the young mentees to present their science so that the senior faculty can provie advice (but keep goal of meeting for the senior faculty - of note, NIDDK's NMRI already does this for the young trainees)  1. The institutions will balk at providing recurring hard money support for effort that may seem vague to them- they will want some sort of accountability for the effort the senior faculty are putting in, and not just collecting salary for 3 hrs of work every day! 2. URM Senior investigators would be faced with either/or, if holding this award made investigators no longer eligible to hold R01's . This may be the biggest challenge, although I know there are a few senior investigators like myself who are ready to transition to a full time mentor role.  This is an idea that is late in coming, but one that a few of us senior URM faculty have been advocating for very srongly, vocally and persistently. The NIH has invested billions of dollars in URM trainees, yet the prfessoriate #'s remain unchnaged for the pasat ~40 years. It is TIME to do something of impact- this will have impact!
  Seattle Children's Research Institute  Seattle, WA  I would be very interested in an emeritus award mechanism at the appropriate time. My work has developed a new field of knowledge over 25-30 years, and I have been able to start transitioning the knowledge to so far only 2 younger investigators. More are needed. Just reading my published papers is not enough to grasp the entire body of knowledge acquired over so many years. The same paradigm certainly applies to many other investigators by the later stages of their careers.  Closing a laboratory is really an institutional responsibility. The challenge is simply planning ahead. The problem is finding and mentoring the best young investigators and mentoring them as these projects are transitioned to them. For me, this would mean assisting the new investigators with maintaining research core capabilities such as patient ascertainment up and running, assisting with IRB challenges that I have managed for many years, and especially writing grants. Given the current NIH grant budget constraints, it would be very difficult to place the senior investigators salary and limited support funds in the budget.  Transitioning projects is not a one time shot, but a process. The duration should be 4-5 years. The junior investigator should be an experienced trained (i.e. post-doc) through Assistant Professor, in other words defined as broadly as possible.  The NIH could require that resources built up over many years be made more accessible to the research community at large, in terms of key databases and samples. The cost of maintaining some samples is cheap, others (i.e. cell lines) expensive. I have had extreme difficulty with our IRB coming to terms with sending samples to the Coriell Biorepository. So valuable samples built up over decades may be end up in the trash. So new (and ideally more flexible) guidelines should be generated to help local IRBs, which often have little or no idea how to manage this vis a vis the consent issues.  The senior investigator may want to continue some part of his/her research via competitive grant proposals, while closing or transferring others. This should be allowed. Institutions will need to keep the senior investigator on faculty. Some transitional faculty status should be encouraged.  As NIH is well aware, inadequate mentoring is a leading contributor to failure of new investigators to find success. In the last stages of my career, I would be very interested in mentoring new scientists working at places beyond my own institutional last stop. This would require a "matching" database of some type.
  Montana State University  BOZEMAN  There is interest in Montana in transition awards for emeritus/senior faculty that relies on NIH funding. We have a wealth of knowledge in senior faculty that would be a shame to waste.  We would like to see award be used to facilitate the incorporation of senior/emeritus faculty into peer review. Many times, peer review is done with an inherent conflict of interest by those who are competing for grants in a similar area, at this time. In addition, there is a lack of true breadth and expertise on some study sections. A study section of emeritus/senior faculty would fix some of the problems inherent in peer review and use the talents of this unique group. Sometimes, the senior faculty are reluctant to retire, and perhaps make room for the next generation, because there are limited "next steps" for their careers.  Number of years (up to 10) For peer review, no junior faculty partner is needed  Provide reasonable funding for the transition to peer reviewing  Loss of status at the university (ie., awards should be deemed honors and prestigious, if possible)
  University of South Florida  Tampa FL  This would be of significant interest to us as we have several senior investigators with significant programs of NIH-funded research approaching retirement.  The promotion of a senior-junior investigator partnership is particularly interesting.  Support of 2 to 3 years seems appropriate. Junior faculty could be one with no more than one R-series grant award.  Many senior investigators worry about the legacy of their work. Providing the opportunity to support transition may be sufficient incentive. Our institution would welcome it.  Can't think of any right now.  None.
  UMass Medical School  Worcester MA  In this competitive funding climate, this idea makes little sense. If these investigators wish 'to pass the torch' on to a junior colleague, the competitive granting process is well poised to allow this to happen. As such, I cannot support this initiative. The system is creaky but ultimately self correcting and older faculty who are no longer competitive for funding should retire from active research to make way for the next generation of scientists. I find it ironic that the NIH has placed so much emphasis on the plight of graduate students, postdocs and early career scientists transitioning to independent careers, to now propose to further clog up the pipeline by providing a special initiative to older faculty.  This proposal should not happen.  none
  I do not agree that senior investigators should receive financial incentive to transition away from their NIH funded work. In practice it seems that it would be difficult to ensure that the senior faculty would legally have to relinquish their eligibility particularly if they are working full time at an eligible institution(i.e. based on age discrimination???). Also, there are multiple paths for Principal Investigators to transition their funded grant(s) to co-investigators and/or collaborators. Also the notion of supporting senior faculty in their transition to other functions at their home institution seems a bit meddlesome. If faculty are providing a service to their home institution, then that institution should be supporting them and not the NIH.  As stated above, I believe that this is a bad idea and thus should not be implemented. In reality it comes across as tone deaf. Of all the issues the NIH and extramural research community are facing, supporting senior faculty must come very low on the list. No one is talking about this on a local or national level. Most are upset that senior faculty can remain so entrenched despite decreased innovation and/or productivity. The notion that this will reduce the number of active senior level investigators in unfounded as no data has been presented. Making otherwise eligible faculty ineligible based on age seems to have weak legal standing.  I give zero support for this award. The NIH's recent ramblings (a frankly little tangible action) of supporting diversity would likely suffer if senior faculty are allowed to select their successor. The bias against women and underrepresented minorities in the life sciences is becoming more clear and suggests that resources held to a disproportionately white and male senior faculty pool will likely go to more white, males [ ].  This award is duplicative, unnecessary, and may be legally tenuous. Please reconsider.  Hopefully both will see this as a bad idea that does not support productive, highly valued faculty or up and coming junior faculty. No productive senior faculty member will agree to give up funding eligibility and no institution with a bit of sense will encourage them to. Encouraging unproductive, fading senior faculty to give up research is not in the purview of the NIH. It is on the institution and the person themselves.
  Mass. General Hospital  Boston, MA  It interests me very much. I am a retired senior investigator who had long-term support ([ ] years) from NIH through R01 grants. I have been promoting the career of a junior colleague since I retired.  Promoting a partnership with a junior investigator  It should provide 4 or 5 years of support; probably primarily for travel and supplies. The junior should have at least 7 years of active research remaining.  For me, travel, particularly to Europe, where my junior colleague works. Travel for her to the US would also be helpful. I would like to buy some supplies for my part of the work here, particularly a new computer workstation  It costs me quite a bit in travel to visit my colleague. My institution isn't interested at all; perhaps a little overhead would increase their interest
  Department of Biology, Saint Louis University  St. Louis, MO  I think this mechanism would provide very senior investigators an alternative to hanging on out of loyalty to their lab's research team. It would provide adequate time for members of the team to find new positions.  The value of this award is that it would put a finite end to a PI's research pursuits. I see no need to transition the research program to a junior investigator. If the research has run its course, this would be a way to close it down.  no opinion  There could be pool of funding for emeritus-qualified PIs. If these PIs are close to the payline but miss on a grant application, they could be offered the chance to have the application considered for an emeritus award. However, the condition of the award would be that the person would no longer be eligible to submit applications to any federal agency or be key personnel on applications of others (other than unpaid consultant).
  University of Louisville  Louisville, KY  I am against making such an award to junior investigators available. Such an award goes against "evening out the playing field" and will undoubtedly give an investigator who is on friendly terms with a senior investigator a very unfair advantage.  I am against such an award - in the age of competitive funding, it makes absolutely no sense.  Zero years.  I think such an award gives a very unfair advantage to junior investigators - it is not anyone's god given right to get funding essentially as a rubber stamping and without peer review with the applicant standing on his own.  I fail to understand this concept - when a senior investigator retires, it is unfathomable why funding should continue flowing because of lab personnel. This is an outlandish and amazing proposition. Presumably at well-funded institutions, the institution should put up funding to support the lab personnel and additionally with sufficient lead time, the personnel can look for funding through other labs to support themselves.
  Pharmacology, U Nebraska Med Center  Omaha, NE  I would not call it "transitioning out" for PR reasons; rather "transitioning IN" to mentoring, senior collaboration, the NIH brain trust, institutional memory, whatever  I have always loved the idea of a senior-junior investigator partnership. But why wait til it is "too late" for the senior partner to benefit directly also?! Come up with this mechanism for those who are X years past funding and realize they need re-inventing or re-invigorating. Actually, I think the best thing NIH could do in this regard is to come up with a SABBATICAL RESEARCH PROJECT GRANT!!! A one-year grant to cover travel to an appropriate lab for a specific purpose that would make us fundable again BEFORE we decide it is best for us to "go emeritus".  Institutions seem not to want to help anyone who needs help. So I would recommend these be fully supported by NIH. Perhaps some form of repayment to NIH if the NIH award pays off in new funds for the institution?  Make sure that it will lead to more funding for the institution and improved status and job satisfaction (and salary support?) for the senior person, and everyone will buy in.  Institutions would rather get rid of senior unfunded folks than use a mechanism to keep them; so there would have to be significant NIH funds to make this look attractive. Keeping an older unfunded person around in the HOPE that they might help a younger person succeed will sound like pie in the sky.  COME UP WITH A SABBATICAL FUNDING MECHANISM!! I truly believe that my failure to get or take time off for a sabbatical and some revitalization is a large part of why I fell off the funding conveyor belt.
  Yale School of Public Health  New Haven, CT  With the current stifling grant-funding climate, I know of numbers of outstanding senior faculty who have been unable to maintain their R01 or equivalent funding, in spite of submission of multiple and diverse applications. Many of them have been taking early retirement, which is creating a very substantial loss both for collaboration with their junior colleagues, as well as of their collected expertise in the training of new generations of scientists. "Transitioning out" of a role or position that relies on NIH research grant funding seems to imply either retirement or support for productive roles that is not based on "research grant" funding but some other kind of funding. That appears to be basis of an "emeritus award."  Facilitating laboratory closure or hand-off to a junior colleague is just a greased boot out the door. Peri-retirement senior faculty are in fact the greatest intellectual resource of the scientific community. The current grant climate is just accelerating their loss. The objective of an emeritus award should therefore be to keep senior faculty actively engaged in scientific work and teaching with junior colleagues and students. With the great distortion of current effort focused on obtaining research grant support, many senior faculty have large amounts of unanalyzed study data collected over many years of work, particularly over the last decade, when funding has been so difficult to obtain. This data collection is a massive resource that is potentially going to waste, when it could be used both by senior faculty, junior faculty, and students and trainees. I think that the proposal to analyze fully large data sets that have been collected in NIH-funded or similar studies, in collaboration with junior faculty and trainees, would be an exceedingly important opportunity.  Duration: Optional, according to the details of the program envisioned by the applicant. Application: Skip the "Innovation" and "Significance" criteria. Put weight on the senior faculty member's established, successful and productive career, and on the quality and amount of data available for continued analysis. The data were already obtained through funding based on innovation and significance, so no need to demand this in the context of data already collected. The new 5-page biosketch format would be useful in the context of describing career contributions to science. Budget and scope: Allow for a certain fraction of the budget for research expenses. New findings in existing data can easily point to new avenues or additional experiments. Such development is how successful investigators established their careers. While new activities should not constitute the main research of the grant, there should be possibility of following up new leads. Teaching and mentoring: These need to be clearly laid out, to demonstrate how the senior faculty member's expertise will be passed to the next generations.  NIH needs to see that senior faculty in their collaboration with junior colleagues and in training the next generations of students and postdocs is a national resource on the brink of major decline unless supported by NIH itself. This support may not look like that of a traditional one-to-one relationship between tightly posed science and research results, but is more amorphous. The emeritus award still needs to have objective mileposts and goals, but its point is to allow successful researchers the freedom to continue working on their research ideas while conveying to the next generations of scientists their experience and wisdom.  The NIH Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA) mechanism, recently receiving its first round of grant applications, has some overlap with the ideas presented above. However, the OIA requires continuous NIH R01 funding for a long period of time. In the current grant funding climate, even highly successful investigators can transiently lose their R01 funding before receiving new research grant funding. The emeritus award should require a long and successful career of R01 support, but should not require that it has never been interrupted. Rather, some fraction of time under continuous R01 support (perhaps >80% time over 20 years or more?) would be an appropriate criterion. The same should be true for the OIA mechanism. The 100% R01 coverage requirement is too strict under the current poor grant-funding climate. It discriminates against fields of study that are characterized by large, multi-year grants, as opposed to short, laboratory-based projects.
  UCSD  La Jolla, CA  terrific idea, long overdue. this would allow Emeriti to stay involved but not in a PI role, and help younger people with, in many cases, knowledge and skills that are essential but which have fallen out of favor.  As an Emeritus faculty member myself, the main need for funds would be to provide a modest salary (perhaps 20% effort), allowing recall to active duty, and the time to mentor younger faculty in all academic aspects - science theory and methods, academic growth, ethics, writing and reviewing grants and papers.In my own case, although emeritus, I am chair of an NIH study section and Editor in Chief of a large [ ] journal. This gives me a lot of current information to pass along. Without any salary support, the university will not provide even office space let alone internet/phone connectivity. That effectively would sever any ties with younger faculty. Some salary is necessary to convince administrators to allow Emeriti to keep their office Another important funding need is modest travel support to annual professional society-based scholarly meetings and sometimes far-flung collaborations. In my own case, I am collaborating with younger, emerging, investigators in Greece, in Spain, Scotland and China. All four collaborations were begun prior to turning Emeritus, and all have resulted in (many) first-tier physiological journal publications. They are ongoing, but have slowed down due to lack of funding to support the once/tiwce a year on-site collaboration needed to discuss and perform the collaborative research.  I think this has to remain very flexible. While the junior faculty partner inevitably grows up, they are part of a group with both more senior and more junior members who all benefit from such interactions. I would think a 5 year award, renewable once would be needed to promote stability in these kinds of relationships. Obviously, over such a 10 year period, the junior partners would graduate and be replaced by other less advanced investigators - Thus I see this as an Emeritus faculty member being an ongoing resource for not just a specific individual junior person, but for a group over time. I also teach groups of graduate students and postdocs from all parts of the biomedical campus about journal/grant writing and reviewing perhaps 3-4 times a year. This does not involve one on one partnering, but is in addition to that within my own Division.  I am not sure I understand what you are asking here. The award would be its own incentive. There would need to be controls to be sure the funds were being used for the intended purposes.  The main impediment I see is fear by the administration that the campus would get clogged with the senior generation and not allow room for new young people. Especially as the emeritus faculty grow too old to be effective. Not many institutions I know would turn down funds, though, and I also know that many junior faculty greatly value the already-happening efforts that this program would formally support. How to determine legally when an Emeritus member is no longer effective and terminate the support would have to be figured out. If the application process were too complex and detailed, that would be a disincentive.  The devil is always in the details. I would plead that if such a program is developed, there would be two main criteria for funding decisions: the lifelong CV of the emeritus faculty member, and the current activities of said faculty member in the domains this award would be intended to support. This is not a research grant, and the vision is to pass on to younger people the accumulated knowledge and skills of the older faculty. The strength of the CV should be a good indicator of effectiveness of the individual, combined with current activities (to show that the emeritus faculty is in fact (trying to be) academically active). Funding should NOT require jumping through complex hoops or lengthy applications.
  La Jolla, CA  I have no interest whatsoever for a new grant mechanism of this type. It is much more likely to be yet another senior PI entitlement, i.e., further sequestration of research grant monies in the hands of the very oldest generation of scientists. There NIH already has precisely this mechanism and it is used to the desired effect. My department has a long tradition of this. It is perfectly ok for senior scientists to hand over their grants to a younger PI, sometime staying on as the co-I for a few years. This happens with R01s and with P mechanisms. The principle is established.  If it does not come with strict rules about the emeritus person no longer being involved in new proposals it will be entirely toothless. And again, the technical means to accomplish this goal already exists. Simply replace the senior PI with a younger PI on the existing award.  A junior faculty partner should be defined so as to promote the advancement of those underrepresented in science, not to continue to sustain those who are already firmly in the system.  Senior investigators who already want to transition can do so, using existing mechanisms. This is proven practice. So the question is about how to lure those who are not already going to do so. Obviously, this is impossible. Because it requires giving them *more* funding / funding security than they have at the current moment. This places more overall funding into this slice of the generational pie. Universities simply want to ensure the IDC of that senior investigator keeps coming to them. So simply assuring a 1-1 IDC transfer will help. But the University also has to think that the replacement is going to have the same, or better, medium term prospects for additional awards. This all just points a finger at why this is such a flawed idea.  Senior investigators don't actually want to give it up. If they did, they can do so using existing procedures (i.e., transfer PI of existing award). Institutions are motivated to keep their proven cash cow submitting more grants. I suppose the best way to do this is to convince them that their nearly-proven cash cow mid career investigators will benefit.  This is profoundly misplaced as an initiative. NIH is supposed to prioritize funding of projects, on a 5 year by 5 year basis, above funding people or programs. We all know that in reality the system is a mixture. But taking the step to further prioritize programs by extending it to trans-generational retention of funding is fundamentally out of step with what has allowed the NIH extramural community to flourish.
  Thomas Jefferson University  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Planning for a sustainable, vibrant biomedical research enterprise for the nation is a laudable goal. Counting on the nations senior biomedical investigators to implement the goal, in part, is a meritnious approach. My thoughts for the proposed emeritus award are as follows: •It should be a 5 year award to those who shall be ready to retire at the end of the award. •It should be peer reviewed process with emphasis on the senior applicant’s productivity, merit, and the quality currently ongoing basic or translational research. •The award should facilitate training for at least three basic scientists. Their salary should be paid through this award. •Improving communication and writing skills should be a definite and an important part of the training (most of our young PhD’s lack these skills, without improvements of which they shall fail to get their own grants and to be independent scientists). •This award should not prevent the senior scientists from applying from other peer reviewed proposals. •Closing of the senior investigators laboratories at the end of the award should not be a stipulation of this award. A decision of closing the laboratories should remain a prerogative is the institution at which the senior scientist is employed.
  Harvard Medical School  Boston, Massachusetts  As a young investigator I am strongly against the Emeritus Award for Senior Researchers initiate. I do agree that the average age for getting an RO1 is too high, and that incentives are needed to help advance young investigators’ careers. I am also aware that grant funds, allocated to more senior investigators need to be freed in order for funding to become available to young researchers. However, I fear that the Emeritus program will (i) permanently lock funding resources to be directed to senior PIs, when otherwise, the same money could be used in research grants (some allocated to young PIs), (ii) disincentivize academic and research institutions from maintaining attractive tenured tracks and well endowed chair positions, which are a very good incentive and professional safe-guard for senior PIs. The financial burden of sustaining a well-established PI should rest on the institutions that have benefited from said PI’s success (i.e. Grants, publications and recognition). It should not be the NIHs role to take on an extra economic burden in an attempt to free up grant money, specially not when facing the worth funding crisis in over 50 years. If academic institutions do not offer good incentives for PI in their late stages of their career, why should the NIH pick up the slack? Allow other academic institutions to compete amongst themselves by offering more competitive packages to senior scientist, even for those thinking about retiring from the bench.
  Colorado State University  Fort Collins, CO  I think this is a super idea! I think that senior scientists have a lot to offer younger scientists, the scientific community, and the public.  Partnering with junior investigators is definitely an important role. Relating scientific ideas to the general public is important Working in disadvantaged communities and with under-presented groups is a role. Providing expertise in the scientific area to others outside of their area is an important role Working at the K-12 level  A 3-4 year support mechanism would be good. A senior, emeritus award should be for a person nearing retirement, but still active.  Not sure what is meant, money is key.  It's not an award for "dead wood"...It should be peer-reviewed. It should be for investigators who have shown that they and do what I've stated in number 2.  excellent idea..but many points need to be worked out.
  If a senior investigator has had success during their career to reach "emeritus" status, they have considerable amounts of talent, knowledge, and contacts where there isn't a need for a grant mechanism for them to move out of an NIH dependent position. That transition is easy for them if they want to move on. Take a look, for example, at some very successful investigators that have started companies. They are prime examples of successful scientists who can diversify their interests without the aid of NIH funding. This is an unnecessary grant mechanism.  This "hand off" grant from senior to junior investigator will accomplish the exact opposite of the transition to independence awards. From what I have heard, it has been the emphasis for early stage, new investigators to establish their independence. The first criticism to be stated on the promoted junior investigator in the grant mechanism will be "the applicant has not established their independence." An emeritus award should provide a new position and buyout package for the professor. This should be handled by their institution, where they undoubtedly have tenure. Does NIH want to get involved in tenure decisions now, so directly?  If this proceeds, the junior faculty must be a faculty member that is not of the academic lineage of the senior investigator. For example, the junior faculty member may not be a former graduate student, former postdoctoral researcher from the emeritus scientists laboratory. Furthermore, the junior faculty must not be from any of the emeritus faculty's trainees (former graduate students or former postdocs).  NIH should not incentivize anything. If this award is set up and is suppose to move the emeritus investigator to a position that is not dependent on NIH funds, how will this be enforced? Will the NIH be willing to sanction institutions that do not follow these guidelines? What will the NIH do if an awarded emeritus professor won't follow through with the hand off to the junior investigator? W  This award is essentially telling the emeritus professors that this is your last hoorah. Once this grant runs out, there will not be another grant as this NIH chapter in your storied career has will have come to an end. It will be time for them to move on in their life, ride off into the sunset, so to speak. I see many issues with this, but if I ever make it to emeritus professor status, I don't think I will want to apply for this mechanism. It will provide further ammunition for others to try and get me out of my position. Besides, when this grant mechanism is started, it will only be around for a couple of cycles. The number of newly tenured faculty is going away. So, at some point, it will be easy to move "emeritus" faculty out of their current positions.
  Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School  Boston, MA  I have fantasized about a grant mechanism for emeritus investigators, but not for the purpose of shutting them down. There are many outstanding investigators with 40 or more years of experience and an ability to synthesize the new and the old who should keep contributing. Currently the only ways to do that are to have enough clout at wealthy-enough institutions (usually not public universities) to keep an office and small lab at institution expense; to become a member of a younger investigator’s lab; or to keep soldiering on with R01’s, competing with younger investigators. What is needed to allow senior investigators to step gracefully out of R01 competition without losing prestige within their institution is a grant award that will cover institutional costs of keeping them actively focused on research; traveling to meetings; writing; and serving the scientific community. I think a lot of the negative reaction to this idea is from the way it is worded. You don’t need resources to “close a lab”. You need resources --including overhead-- to keep an office (where else are you going to counsel younger investigators?) and an active presence in your field. Please take this idea to the next level.  Two years of support, with renewal dependent on proof of "keeping them actively focused on research; traveling to meetings; writing; and serving the scientific community".
  NMSU  Las Cruces, NM  In principle this is a good idea but the implementation must be carefully reasoned. I have read the remarks posted on Dr. Rockne's blog and many excellent points are made. Here are a few thoughts: In my view this award provides a unique opportunity to support NIH funded scientists who also have a track record of leadership to the profession in service, education, and mentorship. Emeritus is an inauspicious name for this award. This should not be an award that supports research intensive efforts because these can already be supported by the R01 mechanism, coupling it to research with a junior faculty member also is short sighted, since there are other mechanisms to support this and the impact of the award on the greater community is lessened. For this reason I recommend the word Emeritus not be coupled to this award because Emeritus is a retiree designation and the recipients of these awards should propose a project work plan that is exciting and innovative in the areas beyond research (see below). A possible name would be Career Leadership award. Even better, see Comment 4, name it after a famous scientist who exemplifies the career path you seek to promote. Personally, Linus Pauling is an inspiration for me. Diversity: Eligibility and review criteria should permit investigators who have a record of distinction commensurate with their institution to compete otherwise the range of constitutions and the demographics of the recipients will be severely limited.  The award should have three elements. Each should explain how the proposed activities will transition the PI to new directions that strengthen the research enterprise A research innovation plan. Projects that are high risk high impact with little to no preliminary data. Encourage proposals to undertake a project outside of previous research record eg "Dream Project". Training can be part of the project. Perhaps a wet lab PI seeks to move to public health. A research leadership plan. Proposed activities on behalf of the research community, eg workshops/seminars/webinars on science topics; leadership of metadata networks; launch of new journal etc; support for diversity research enhancement at non-research intensive institutions A scientific dissemination plan: Proposed activities to disseminate research expertise to the non-scientist and communities eg through course development for K-12 or undergraduates; development of community projects; fostering international collaborations  • No longer than 7 years total • Max 150 K a year plus F&A for 3-5 years, renewable once for 3-2 years • Cannot serve as PI of any other Federal grant • Must devote 6 months effort • Only tech and undergrad support is allowable (no postdocs or grads) • Junior faculty should not be part of this award...this requirement is too small in scope and other mechanisms exist. • Expected to attend a yearly conference at NIH to present outcomes of efforts and retrospectives of their career. can serve as advisors to the funding institute • Must provide data of track record of mentoring students and faculty and letters from these parties.  I am not sure this is needed. As long as the award is not purely a research award, and the award requires responsibility for community leadership and research education (where seniority really can have an impact) I think your best senior scientists will be interested because they are doing this already.. Think Carl Sagan, in fact, perhaps this should be named after a famous Nobel laureate such as the Linus Pauling Award (two Nobels for Chemistry and for Peace)  Senior investigators: Loss of prestige and status. Those with strong character will be fine, the vain and prideful will suffer. Institutions. Really? Those with strong character will be fine, the greedy and gluttonous will suffer.  Great idea but please make this something really different than just a small research grant for research sharks to collect salary and stay in the system. Construct this award to result in outcomes that strengthen research and highlight careers that can inspire those in the pipeline by rewarding careers where communities and people have been promoted in addition to research excellence. In other word, please reflect on this question: after 10 years, what do you expect to see as transformative outcomes from this award?
  Temple University School of Medicine  Philadelphia, PA 19140  I am writing in response to RFI NOT-OD-15-064. I do not support the establishment of an Emeritus Award for Senior Researchers. While I believe that senior investigators play a vital role in the mentoring of junior faculty, I do not feel that this transmission of scientific information and skills needs to be supported by the NIH. All researchers, especially senior ones, should be supporting junior investigators and working in collaborative environments. If they have not engaged in mentoring and/or collaborations to this point, giving them a NIH award to do so at the end of their career will not be effective. At a time when NIH funding is tight, supporting senior researchers “to facilitate laboratory closure” should not be a priority. This type of initiative will not keep the US at the forefront of biomedical science and healthcare, nor will it help the next generation of scientists to succeed. It is far better for NIH to invest in junior and mid-career scientists and their research programs than to prolong support for senior investigators who are transitioning out of research. The universities should be picking up the salaries of senior investigators at that point, not the NIH. Early mid-career investigators have it particularly tough because there are no special grant opportunities for this group. Whereas the early career investigators benefit from special consideration and the senior investigators are helped by their experiences and past successes, mid-career investigators benefit from neither. Many mid-career scientists are lost to research careers because of the difficulty in sustaining NIH funded which is required by many academic institutions. I do not support the initiatives described in NOT-OD-15-064. There are much more important needs in biomedical research than the proposed Emeritus Award for Senior Researchers.  I do not support the initiatives described in NOT-OD-15-064. There are much more important needs in biomedical research than the proposed Emeritus Award for Senior Researchers.
  University of South Florida  Tampa, FL  If configured correctly, it could be a positive. If simply a reward for successful PIs, then not so much  I can see two uses 1) to transfer an important biological resource (supported by many letters from the community) 2) transfer a valuable research program to a junior faculty  I would only favor this idea if the grant mechanism required the senior scientist to serve as a co-PI to a junior scientist in the leadership, PI position.  Evaluate the proposal based on the scientific value of the program to be transferred and the quality of the junior PI and senior co-PI  require a partnership of a senior and junior scientist
  The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital  Columbus, Ohio  I have mixed feelings about this award and I keep asking myself, "do we really need another award for this?" While its intentions seem good, I worry that it will be used as an alternative source/mechanism for senior investigators to keep labs going indefinitely while stymying the true development of junior investigators and the continuity of the research program. I have made suggestions below for trying to mitigate these possibilities.  This should be used only for facilitating the transfer of a successful research program. I don't see any real value in having a new award to "close a lab" - that mechanism can occur at the end of an existing research grant.  -This should be a one-time application and award. No resubmissions and no renewals. Putting this restriction in place will give senior investigators the opportunity to transfer their research program and their expertise without the possiblity of sustaining their continued activity in the lab. I would suggest no more than 4 years for this award. -The junior investigators should have already established independence and not have been direclty involved in the senior investigators' lab in a period prior to the application/award; however, the junior investigator should have a comparative/complementary expertise to the senior investigator and should be familiar with the senior investigator's work. This will help alleviate senior investigators potentially using junior investigators (e.g. instructors and research track faculty) merely for the continuity of funding, and not truly transitioning out of the lab.  I would forsee potential conflict. Senior investigators might not be satisfied with the productivity, approach, etc of the junior investigator during the award period.
  Oregon Health and Science University  Portland, OR  The emeritus award would have been highly useful to my mentor and me, currently a postdoc in his lab. My mentor was highly successful having had R01 level support for [ ] years and been awarded an R37. A year ago, my mentor was near retirement age and beginning to shut down his lab. His R01 support ran out in August 2014, and being a 5th year postdoc in the lab, I would have been out of a job. I had been trying to get a faculty position with several interviews, but the times are currently tough. I am a productive postdoc in his lab with two first author papers and an[ ] postdoctoral fellowship. But last summer I was within a month of being without a job and most likely leaving academia (which negatively affected an important collaboration). Fortunately for me, I was awarded a K99 less than a year ago. The K99, in addition to another grant I was awarded from the [ ] and a no cost extension of the RO1, is the only money I have to do all my work (~$70k, about half of which is used for mouse costs). Thus, I am the only one in the lab. I have no technicians or students to help me. I must do everything on my own, since there is not enough money. And since I cannot apply for bigger grants since I am only a postdoc, I am stuck with what I have. In addition, my mentor does not want to get another full blown RO1 and he wants to shut down his lab while still being my mentor. Therefore, a smaller grant (~50-100k) for several years (1-3yrs) would allow him to hire a technician to help shut down the lab, ease the burden on me, and transition the lab to me. I plan to continue with this research, but the burden of performing all experiments, continuing my training, publishing, writing grants, etc, has been draining on me. My hope is that this time makes me stronger and does not burn me out.
  University of Colorado Denver  Aurora, CO 80045  This concept just gives amunition to Study Sections to deprive active, productive seniors an opportunity to say active and continue to contribute to science and mentor the next generation of researchers. This is a lame concept. I have had only one NIH grant my enture career [ ] and this has been one of the most productive grants ever, Now you want to introduce the concept of deleting me by using such a term. I am 100% opposed to this.  Just drop it. the concept is a stupid idea. The investigator drops out if his productivity falls, not because the investigator is 72.  What does the "award" mean? Money or a title? i agree that some in their 70's may want to "reduce" the size of their labs but NOT close them. The NIH wastes too much money giving more than two grants per investigator. You could keep people my age active and contributing to mentorship of the next generation "half-grants". Most of us do not need fund from the R01 for top salarie as we collect Social Security. In fact, I have reduced my salatyu by 70% and use e mney to buy mice and pay post-docs. "half-grants) are 125,000 per year for R01. Only one per investigator.  Institutions use precious funds to pay for administration salaries. A total misuse of funds. See who leaves every dat at 5 PM. The administrators!  You label those of us who are at their intellectual peak as "emeritus" and drive us into forced second class status.  Drop the term. it is a dangerous word.
  University of Kentucky  Why is the NIH even wasting time thinking about something like this? They already have a mechanism in place - it's called an R01.
  Texas Tech Health Sciences University  El Paso, Texas  It is a very intriguing idea.  Treat just like a regular R01 in the sense of annual progress reports, an expectation for peer-reviewed publications and other accomplishments. This will allow the most senior and probably most highly-qualified investigators to bow out in a way that is commensurate with their overall career accomplishments. In other words, this is a way for people to go out in style and with success. Of course this plan/approach appeals to me. I have been R01 funded continuously for 30 year, and still have a least 3 more years on one funded grant (and have an idea for a new R01 too). I would love to bow out while still publishing high-quality high-impact peer-reviewed scientific papers. Do not tie this to mentoring of junior faculty. It won't work and will limit the main goal of 'churn', as Dr. Rockey said during the webinar.  Make it a ‘last RO1”: • 4 yrs of funding, full modular budget (250 K direct costs) • full indirect costs • applicable at time of next competitive renewal or sooner • If awarded, recipient cannot apply for further R awards (but is still eligible for applying for other mechanisms). • Add to requirements a commitment to serve on an NIH review group for 4 – 6 meetings (e.g., 2 - 3 per year for 2 – 3 years). This way the investigator gives his or her expertise back to NIH as an experienced grant reviewer. This will make it a bit easier to recruit people to Study Sections too.  As above: make the duration 4 years with a full budget and full IDCs. Also limit PI salary support to no more than 40% of the cap, with the institution being responsible for the rest  Money. Institutions will want more PI salary on the grant.  Don't tie this to junior faculty recruitment or mentoring. Limit just to current R01 grant holders. Think hard about age requirements for eligibility (over 65, over 60, or what?).
  Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine  Richmond, VA  This is an excellent idea.  One sticking point in shutting down a lab that has been productive for years is what to do with all of the special constructs, cells and reagents that are filling up many -80 freezers. There are many unique and invaluable resources that often get tossed away if no one in the immediate environment wants any of it. A great service and expense that could be borne in part by the NIH would be to provide resources for cataloging material and sending contents to interested investigators at other institutes. This could be anything from providing fedex codes and shipping containers to establishing repositories. At the very least a website on which reagents, cells, bacteria, constructs, etc. could be listed and designated as available to the research community at large would be a huge help.  See comment 4. I think that a maximum of two years added to an existing grant at the cost of the last year of that grant would be sufficient. A junior faculty partner would ideally be either an assistant or associate professor in the tenure track. Anyone with status less that this (e.g. research assistant professor) who is not in the tenure is really just an extended post-doc and probably would need a different kind of mentoring. This could also include physician scientists who should be applying for K awards and would need mentoring for both research issues and negotiating the new world of compensation packages and protected time.  The best incentive would be to extend the length of an existing award for a finite period (e.g. one or two years) with the understanding that accepting the extension precludes the investigator from applying for any more NIH funding.  Many senior investigators won't admit that their research careers are over and convince their institutions that they their next submission will be the one that hits pay dirt. This leads the institution to keep the investigator in space that should be assigned to a more productive faculty member. There needs to be more reality testing for both the investigator and the institution and the availability of emeritus status would be a big help in greasing that transition.  I would be happy to become involved in the process if there is any interest in setting up an advisory group of extramural investigators, particularly those like myself who are reaching the end of productive NIH-funded careers.
  UNC Chapel Hill  Chapel Hill, NC  The emeritus award violates the spirit of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and 14th amendment of the constitution by depriving "non senior investigators" of opportunity to apply for PHS. The emeritus award is quite different in this regard than new investigator awards, which have no age limit only the stipulation of not having had NIH funding before. The emigration award violates NIH peer review principles, since investigator and other review criteria change during the award period and it is known at the outset that the principal investigator on record will not conduct the research as proposed. This opens the door to misuse.  The emigration award violates NIH peer review principles, since investigator and other review criteria change during the award period and it is known at the outset that the principal investigator on record will not conduct the research as proposed. This opens the door to misuse.  The emeritus award violates the spirit of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and 14th amendment of the constitution by depriving "non senior investigators" of opportunity to apply for PHS. The emigration award violates NIH peer review principles, since investigator and other review criteria change during the award period and it is known at the outset that the principal investigator on record will not conduct the research as proposed. This opens the door to misuse.  This is a bad idea all around. It violates any number of equal protection laws and fairness principles.  The emeritus award violates the spirit of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and 14th amendment of the constitution by depriving "non senior investigators" of opportunity to apply for PHS. The emeritus award is quite different in this regard than new investigator awards, which have no age limit only the stipulation of not having had NIH funding before.  This is a bad idea all around. It violates any number of equal protection laws and fairness principles.
  University of Michigan Medical School  Ann rbor, MI  I would be very interested. No reason why a scientist with decades of experience should suddenly exit the field and take his/her knowledge away.  Best use I can think is to provide support for mentoring a young faculty member, or even postdoctoral fellows (in tandem with a junior faculty). Skills in the laboratory, in grant writing, in publishing, in providing grant or manuscript reviewing, and in mentoring her/his students - all of these are experiences of the senior scientist that can be passed on to improve the science, productivity and impact of a younger scientist.  I would support 2-3 years of partial salary support (20-30%) with a small stipend to allow the person to attend a scientific meeting. Support would be contingent on the identification of specific junior scientist(s) within her/his institution (junior being defined as assistant professor or equivalent, or associate perhaps without tenure), and also a commitment by the institution (dept chairman likely) of the appropriate support (office space, IT support) to allow senior scientist to fully function in a mentoring/consulting/assisting role.  For senior investigators, allow emeritus award to be combined with a limited NIH salary support as co-investigator on a junior scientist grants (maybe set a 20% limit?). This would incentivize the senior person to take an active role in the developing and execution of grant proposals. Such would incentivize institutions to allow "phased" transitions of the senior investigators from a fully investigator-initiated grant funding (multiple RO1s or similar) to the more supporting role. I suggested the travel award specifically to address the opportunity of senior investigators to share their knowledge and insights with a larger part of thier respective fields.  A buy-in from institutions is critical - they would need to allow senior investigators to "dial down" activities. Emeritus grants likely would have to have indirect costs or institutions will not want them.  Some institutions allow phased retirements, some don't. Some support it financially, some don't. Many businesses are today seeking ways to retain the expertise of the growing class of soon-to-be-retirees, and science is no different.
  Nathan Kline Institute and Columbia University  New York, NY  I think this is an outstanding idea that I very strongly endorse. I can think of several people that would immediately quality, and would be immensely useful as mentors if they could be engaged in a non-humiliating way. I have watched the process of "ageing-ou"t in these people and see them being shoved to the side before they are ready to leave, and while they still have irreplaceable understanding and perspective.  I think each of those would be excellent, though the latter 2 would be the most obviously productive.  I think that a 3-5 year transition is about right (i.e., specifiable by the individual applicant) Definition of a junior faculty partner would be one possibility (and a good one). Another, would be completion of a specifiable task (e.g., a scholarly contribution, or teaching/leading a course), or a senior scientific service - e.g., serving on panels that review training awards.  The most obvious to me is direct cost support with inclusion of indirects. Another would be to initiate a structure, e.g., "the NIH Academy of Senior Scholars" a bit like the "academy of reviewers idea that emerged a few years back.  The institution may wish to limit or end the influence of a powerful senior scientist to allow it to grow in new directions. For the individual participation would be a tacit admission of a real transition, something many of do not want to face up to.  I really like the idea. If it could be implemented on a 3-5 year basis, renewable upon peer and program review (I think participation of peers and NIH program staff are both important), it might reduce the tendency of senior investigators to cling to their research funding as a way to keep their professional standing and resources in their hime institutions intact. It could provide provide for a more graceful, transition towards complete retirement, one in which the senior academic could maintain a useful contribution, with income. It would be especially important in research mills like medical schools where traditional tenure is non-existant or insubstantial.
  University of Colorado Denver  Aurora  This is an unnecessary proposal that is counter productive to encourage and support young, innovative scientists in their career. I strongly oppose its implementation.  All of these ideas are facilitated by natural, existing mechanisms. This proposal will not help any of these activities.  This proposal should fail.  Do not implement.  Just encourages old, otherwise non-competative scientists to linger.  Please do not pursue this mechanism further. Your goal is to fund competitive science. This award simply steals the funds from the young, energetic and competitive investigators to prop up otherwise unfunded, dying research programs.
  URMC  Rochester NY  Encouraging retirement of senior investigators is a good thing - no doubt about that. The question is whether this process needs to be incentivized positively or negatively. Should there be a carrot or a stick or both? In my opinion, there's no need for a carrot. Just use the stick. De-incentivize continued applications for R01 awards by aged investigators (perhaps by limiting available budgets, or putting strict time limits on awards). No need for additional incentives, and definitely no need for a new kind of award mechanism.  If such an award were created, the focus MUST be on the junior partner. It could for example include a budgetary component for refurbishment of older lab space or equipment that may be "inherited" from a senior investigator. The use of such an award to facilitate laboratory closure needs to be handled very carefully - there are many old labs with huge issues relating to contamination, environmental health and safety issues, etc. Taking care of these problems should not be NIH's bag. For example, I recently "inherited" a space from an older investigator that is next to my existing modern lab. We had to spend several weeks and a significant amount of discretionary funds to bring the space up to code - get the hoods recertified, removal of asbestos from some cupboards, disposal of old chemicals via appropriate channels, testing for radioactive residues, etc. All of this resulted in the Department being spared a lot of money to officially "decommission" the lab space. The Department loves this, and it was worth it for me to spend money from my academic allowance in order to acquire the new space, but in the end I would question the role of NIH in paying for such capital improvements.  If such an award were created, the focus MUST be on the junior partner. For example give them total control over the budget. Bake in requirements for senior authorship on papers being given to the junior partner. Perhaps make the participation of the emeritus/elder investigator only allowed for the first part of the award (say the first 2-3 years) and then the junior PI would have another 2-3 years by themselves without the senior person's involvement.  What's really need is to de-incentivize the status quo, wherein emeriti continue to submit R01 applications.  The old folks don't want to retire. Who can blame them? Their IRA's were decimated by the financial crisis of '08 and they're trying to hang on for a few more years. Again, NOT NIH's problem.  This really seems like a solution to a problem that does not exist. There are some other issues surrounding this proposal, on the topic of diversity. Because of current academic demographics, almost all the recipients of such an award would be white males, so the initiative would seem to fly in the face of current NIH goals to enhance diversity in the scientific workplace. Furthermore, this proposal seems to be yet another example of "flip-flop" in the extramural programs. Most institutions did away with MERIT awards a few years ago, but this initiative is kind of aimed at the same audience. It's rather like the situation with A2 vs. A1 vs. A0. Same thing again for the biosketch format. Please stop shifting the goalposts and changing the rules and then changing them back a few years later!
  Northeastern University  Boston  Bad idea. Why does NIH want to start new programs for special interests. Give more R01 awards so that the paylines will improve.  See above - no need for a special interest award.
  University of central florida  orlando,florida  In cases where a senior scientist is opening up a new area such a novel gene whose function has broad implications in major health issues, an emeritus award could help to transfer the new area to a bright young researcher while the senior scientist transitions from a PI to a senior member of the research team with the junior scientist transitioning into the PI status .  Essentially a trasitional award that starts with the senior scientist as the PI and then transition into a senior member of the team while the junior researcher transitions into the PI status  A 2-3 year term for the first phase and a similar length for the second phase making a total of 6 years.  Both the Institution and the senior scientist will win if the salary of the junior faculty is paid by NIH for the first three years with the condition that the university will assume the salary after that period.The senior person gains by being able to enjoy the success in the science he/she initiated and then enjoy participating in that research  If the senior person is too possessive that would create trouble .There has to be a chemistry between the junior and senior member of the team.The institution has to be willing to move in a new direction as this will require unconventional processes for hiring and evaluation of the junior faculty member.  If a really accomplished senior scientist and a highly motivated top quality junior scientist can be hooked up ,such a program will be successful. The poor quality of initial review group currently being used will not be adequate to evaluate the emeritus award applications
  New York Institute of Technolo  Oyster Bay  I would be highly supportive of this proposal.  I think the NIH and the institution should take advantage of this. There should be a mentoring plan to pass of the research program and techniques to a promising junior scientist.  7 years, eligible at 62.  Since it is so difficult for NIH to recruit good senior level reviewers, I would suggest that 25% or more of the senior investigator's salary be used to sit on NIH review panels. This could really help the institution and also help improve grant review quality at NIH.  Some may get a second wind.  Again, possible role could be mentoring replacement and mentoring/reviewing NIH proposals. As a paid reviewer who is done with grant proposals, it may also help with integrity of the system.
  Lauren G. Gross, J.D.  lgross@aai.org  The American Association of Immunologists  Bethesda, MD  The American Association of Immunologists (AAI), the largest professional association of immunologists in the world, representing more than 7,600 basic and clinical immunologists, appreciates this opportunity to submit comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Request for Information (RFI): Sustaining the Biomedical Workforce and a Potential Emeritus Award for Senior Researchers” (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-064.html). As the largest funder of biomedical research in the world, NIH should explore creative ways to sustain the biomedical workforce. This RFI seeks to pursue avenues to support the transition of senior investigators when they wish to move to other roles and recognizes that in this process there may be synergistic opportunities benefiting more junior colleagues that should be explored. The RFI, which solicits comments on a proposed “Emeritus Award,” has already generated important debate about the prudent distribution of federal research dollars, and is encouraging investigators to suggest solutions to difficult problems that have emerged largely as a result of eroding budgets and an uncertain funding climate. AAI appreciates that NIH has reached out at this early stage to its many stakeholders in the research community, understanding that the creation of any new funding mechanism could be controversial. With respect to the ideas raised in this RFI, AAI is not yet able to submit comments. NIH provided only thirty-one calendar days to comment, insufficient time for many organizations, including AAI, to receive member input or generate a thoughtful response on such a complex issue. Should NIH decide to pursue this idea, AAI would urge NIH to release another RFI that provides more detail on possible proposals arising from the initial RFI and other deliberations. We suggest that the next RFI address the relative roles and responsibilities of the NIH vis-à-vis the investigator’s institution and provide details of proposals under consideration, such as eligibility requirements for the proposed mechanism (e.g. senior investigators with multiple R01s or large projects, etc.), whether participants in this mechanism would relinquish future eligibility to submit NIH grant proposals as PI (or multi-PI or Co-Investigator), and potential budget approaches.
  University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine  Aurora  This is a good idea. It would allow senior and junior colleagues to plan for a thoughtful and appropriate transition. I am very much in favor of this concept.  All of these are appropriate depending upon the individual situation. Personally, from the clinical scientist perspective I would favor partnership/mentorship arrangements between established clinical investigators and their junior colleagues. A senior colleague has a treasure chest of experience with regulatory, funding, industry, foundation, NIH/govt, and other support/entities. How to build and sustain a clinical trials unit - that is the key in passing along success in the clinical arena.  This would depend upon the specific situation and whether the senior/junior partnership is in basic or clinical science. The key is level of commitment of the junior partner - that person must have at least 6 years of funded research (not only NIH) and must have a fulltime academic position.  Emeritus awards should fund at least 50% of a fulltime senior position.  I don't really see any - of course, the enthusiasm will depend upon level of funding, and the inclusion/exclusion criteria for application.  I think it is a good idea.
  University of Iowa  Iowa City, IA  The downturn in NIH and other governmental funding combined with the explicit shift in funding to favor junior faculty has caused disillusionment in many senior faculty. It is not easy to appreciate that your work that has not changed in its subjective impact is not honored as much anymore by others as evidenced by one’s inability of obtaining funding. While many senior faculty can understand that these are systems problems causing these dire straits in funding, there is always the residual impression that somehow, after a successful live in science, one falls behind. If such lack of funding success is paired with significant advancements in publications of primary articles in high profile journals it can easily result in emotional unrest or even despair as scientific achievements measured in publications increasingly mismatch to funding levels. If unqualified retirement is considered the only way out of such a situation, such retired faculty will likely not remain engaged within the society they once were actively participating in. Replacing such potentially devastating feeling of being expelled by the society one may have forged into its current state over ones career could be softened by a carefully crafted retirement funding system outlined below. In essence, such a system would help maintain the best and brightest of the seniors through a transition period that allows those faculty a honorable exit instead of simply being expelled without a reason given as the current situation does: one either receives an R01 and can consider oneself appreciated or one does not get a R01 and has to deal with feeling of inaptness outlined above. Remaining engaged is a major aspect of successful ageing and data support that engagement is the key for long term mental and physical well-being, barring unforeseeable health problems. As the percentage of seniors in the society will increase over the next few years to transform the society into one that carries about 20% of 65+ it is paramount that this increasing population remains engaged in the society to maintain their physical and mental well-being and contribute to rather than becoming a burden to the society. Failure to keep seniors engaged will likely result in increased dependency of seniors on the cash strapped health care and social security system. Since the higher proportion of seniors in the society is a lasting transformation of societal structure it will be important for NIH to stay ahead of such societal transformations by adopting a system that allows seniors a graceful exit from the workforce or, if they so desire and have the mental means to do so, keep them in the workforce albeit in a different role as valued advisor. The latter role is important to provide intellectual continuity.  The transition into a advisory role seems to be the only logical way forward to be supported by NIH. Supporting lab closure or transitioning into an administrative role should not be supported by NIH but rather should be dealt with at the University level.  Senior faculty can help to shape the conceptual framework to guide the technical advances that drives much of the junior investigator approaches to science to achieve a higher impact. A 2-3 year transition from a senior investigator could allow research intensive senior investigators acquire the new role of consultant/advisor/collaborator on a junior investigator driven research. To facilitate this transition, a funding mechanism would be appropriate that considers explicitly junior/senior partnerships with a clear description of the transition phase in leadership. A template for such a transition could be the K99/R00 award mechanism that facilitates the transition of junior investigators into independence. However, instead of having a first dependent phase followed by an independent phase, this mechanism would lead from an independent phase into a dependent phase. The independent phase should be for 3 years followed by a co-I phase of two years. It would be appropriate to limit applications for such an award to the age group of 63-68 with justifiable exceptions be allowed at 68+. A faculty on such a transition grant (R63/K70) would not be allowed to apply for own NIH funding anymore after such an award. However, participation on awards of past or new junior collaborators should continue provided a record of new accomplishments indicates continued engagement in research (publication record, citation record, invited talks, review records). Selection of such investigators should be driven primarily by publication and citation records in the last five years before applications (Google Scholar, Web of Science, Scopus). Number of awards in this category should be limited to about 10% of the total number of R01 at a given University. The effect of such limitations could encourage Faculty approaching the age of 66-69 to ready themselves for such an award by adjusting their scientific performance to the level required within the UI to be eligible for such funding. This would be equivalent to the HHMI retirement transition and should be limited to $200,000 per year.  Our society is in a transition stage with an estimated 20% of 65+ people by 2035 (US census data). Many of these people will have 15-20 years of expected live to restructure society toward two almost equal age groups of financially depend people: the 1-25 and the 65+ age group that combined will amount to ovr 40% of people in the US. Engaged aging could provide society at large and the UI in particular with the ability to transform the aging workforce into a benefit for the society, in particular academia. Benefits of a coordinated transition into a society with a novel age stratification will benefit all parties. Benefits for faculty: Aging is dependent on the genetic predisposition and life time aggregated effects. Faculty with a life time of experience and appropriate mental and physical health to sustain a research program could benefit from continued opportunity to keep engaged in research with junior partners. Aging studies show that engagement in societal matters is key for longevity providing active faculty with the means to stay engaged. Faculty that for various reasons is unable or unwilling to continue the demanding engagement should have the opportunity to opt out in a phased way. Having a clear path beyond the current choice of retiring or not could provide a strong sense of belonging which in turn could help keep faculty engaged. Tying the total number of retirement awards into the total number or volume of R01’s would provide additional incentives for senior investigators to help junior faculty obtain R01 grants. Instead of boosting junior investigators chances directly through extra bonus points such an integrated approach would be transformative for both junior and senior investigators ready to remain engaged in research.  Scientific discovery is on a trajectory where technical advances exceed conceptual gains leaving anybody disengaged in these advances lagging behind the cutting edge in ever shorter time frames. Seeing the end of ones research through appreciation of the increasing technical gap between own research and that at the cutting edge disengages faculty with little chances to catch up. Universities aim with their 5 year CDA program to avoid such problems but those intervals are much too long to reintegrate faculty with the technological advancements in their science.  Over the last few years NIH has increasingly supported junior faculty through bonus points toward R01 funding and special funding mechanisms such as K99/R00. The outline above is meant to more evenly distribute those special activities by proposing a transition grant, dubbed here R65/K68, that helps research active faculty to affiliate with a junior faculty and eventually become part of that junior faculty research team. It seems reasonable to limit such retirement awards to the same volume as is the case for K99/R00 awards.
  Children's National Health Systems (Formally Children's National Medical Center)  Washington, DC  In the past I have seen Senior PI submit grants for Junior investigators. The biggest problem is that review committees, when they pick up on this change, will comment " sure the Laboratory has the cumulative experience however the recommended PI does not. In the past I have solved this problem by installing an advisory board that is comprised of senior Investigators, that meets regularly, reports, carries minutes of meetings and actively advises the Junior PI. The senior PIs are not in the same line of research however are familiar with issues of staffing, productivity and a large percent of laboratory techniques. Adding a requirement of such a committee would not be possible without first recognizing the need for funding the same at some reestablished nominal rate (15K/ member/year??)  Many senior PI's have human resources management skills that junior PIs simply do not have. Senior PIs also have colleagues and contacts in the field that are human living resources. A junior PI may have an opportunity to meet some of these resources however installing a formal mechanism that would bring these people together in a room would help transition the junior PI and promote the transfer of living resources to the same junior PI. Many times the lager momentum of organizing the past productivity of the laboratory under a classification system is left to the in-coming Junior PI. Also the Junior PI usually has little no administrative support form the research institution hence the creating a structure to past production/productivity is crippled by the lack of resources to complete this effort. Adding administrative support for the sole purpose of creating the classification and structure could prove in many cases to be paramount to success. Furthermore providing professional training in human resource management training is important. Providing training in grants management to the Junior PI is paramount as well. Dedicated pockets of funding for these tasks with draw-down based on proof of training (certificates etc) may be in order.  An emeritus award should have a life of at least one grant cycle between noncompete phases (typically 3-5 years). With a full report on the progress of transition. Past data archive, papers and grants archive, contacts with industry, living resources contacts made.... etc moving towards 100% completion at 80% completion of Emeritus award period.  Publication of the award mechanism. Special Review committees to review this specific problem where Reviewers are given the specific mission to not condemn the Junior Investigator simply due to lack of experience but instead instruct the review committee to more heavily weigh the role of the Advisory committee to the Junior PI, the committee's true ability to advise including issues of proximity and availability etc.  Many institutions award laboratory square feet of space space based on grant income. If a Junior PI takes only one R01 for example, the institution may tend to decrease needed laboratory space. Institutions also have an incredibly difficult time awarding administrative support to single investigators thus many times the Junior PI with all new responsibilities is stuck performing administrative duties that are not productive for the research that needs to be done. Rules of grant should include institutional commitment matching Administrative support and Space.  This is an important initiative and I applaud the NIH for recognizing the issue at hand and for trying to better understand what it would take to have successful transitions.
  Johns Hopkins University  Baltimore, MD  This is a good idea to keep longstanding, successful and knowledgeable scientists contributing to the goals of the NIH.  The more flexible the better. Each situation will be unique. To the extent that the awardee can maintain an existing research presence in collaboration with others at their own and other institutions, this will be a valuable award. If there are specific strings attached, less so.  An "exit" award from the NIH system for long-time NIH supported scientists would seem most valuable. Strong support for an existing system for 2 years with step downs in years 3-5 would allow an active investigator the opportunity to contribute meaningfully over an additional 5-year period while closing a research operation in an orderly fashion. Advance knowledge of the funds available over the "last" 5 years of NIH support would allow the investigator to plan accordingly and focus on the science, not the next round of grant applications. Implicit is the understanding that the awardee would not be eligible for additional funding as a PD or PI after the award is completed. The institution should be encouraged to support a minimum percent of faculty salary for the entire term of the award.  Both senior researchers and institutions are struggling with this issue. As long as the term is sufficiently long and the funding starts at a high level with defined step-down, senior investigators may see this as a wonderful way to wrap up a research operation. Defining this as a "last" NIH award would allow institutions to plan for transition of space and resources.  I see this as a mechanism for senior investigators who are ready to wind down a research operation. By defining it as a "last" NIH grant, many may be hesitant to commit. The institution may be hesitant to commit to minimal percent salary support over the term of the grant (if that is included as a requirement), but may value the opportunity anyway, since it is a mechanism to define funding and term for an investigator who otherwise may require considerable institutional support in a much less ordered transition.
  Seattle Childrens Research Inst. and University of Washington  Seattle, WA  No interest whatsoever. NIH already has mechanisms in place - competitive review of current grant mechanisms. If grants are not competitive, there is no sense in supplying further funding to senior investigators. This has been well discussed on various blogs - see Drugmonkey, Rock Talk Blog and Data Hound. (1) This problem already has a solution. An investigator can (with approval from the relevant IC) name a new Principal Investigator for a grant. Assuming the PI is qualified and NIH approves, this is an effective transition strategy that has been used many times. (2) For most research programs, is "succession planning" something that NIH staff are worried about? Given that many investigators train numerous younger scientists over the course of their careers and that the system is currently flooded with accomplished younger scientists, the solution to this problem without any mechanism seems to be at hand. (3) Even proposing such a mechanism seems quite inappropriate and tone deaf at this juncture when so many younger scientists are struggling to establish and maintain their careers.  Not applicable since there is no reason to institute such mechanisms  Not applicable since there is no reason to institute such mechanisms  Not applicable since there is no reason to institute such mechanisms  NIH has limited funds and is already squeezing mid-career and junior investigators. Removing more money from the limited funding pot specifically for a new mechanism for which there is no need is a huge impediment. Supporting retiring senior investigators will be at the expense of more junior people and NIH is already robbing the pipeline of new ideas and scientific diversity based on current policies. This will just add to the problem, decreasing the viability of the scientific enterprise  NIH has been tone-deaf to input from its stakeholders in the scientific community. The overwhelming negative feedback from the broad community re the new Biosketch format did not prevent implementation of the new format. Many of us fear that once again, NIH will not listen to the overwhelming negative commentary on this new Emeritus idea.
  University of Cincinnati  Cincinnati, OHIO  I think this idea is brilliant!  I envision my PIs using this award mechanism to accomplish several goals that are beneficial to the scientific community. 1. Disseminate research resources--both intellectual and physical. For example, it took a senior PI several months to arrange for transfer or embryonic cryostorage of his transgenic lines. Another PI has 30 years of childhood lead exposure data that he doesn't have time to put in order for junior investigators to follow. Given the amount of data and resources accumulated over a career, it would be useful for PIs to organize and disburse in a way that is beneficial. Sadly, some of our senior PIs retire because their 'high' salaries are no longer covered by significant grant funding. When they are feeling forced out, they are less enthusiastic about disbursing their knowledge and resources. 2. Transitioning research programs to 'junior' investigators, and assuring continued research opportunities for the scientific team. I find it interesting that NIH and the CTSAs are focused on Team Science (tm), yet no mention is made of the research grunts--the students and technicians--who product the data. If the senior scientist mentions that she is going to wind down her research, the team members begin looking for new opportunities with longevity. This creates a situation where senior PIs hesitate to talk about the long term strategies of the lab, and instills distrust in the team. Having a transition strategy will provide some job security for the team, and maintain human capital that is sometimes impossible to replace. This will also give the senior PI an incentive to team with a jr person. 3. Review articles. Our senior people have a long-term view of science, and could write some amazing review articles if they weren't busy writing grants to stay funded until the day they retire. 4. A few PIs stick around to help their students graduate. This award could establish both protected time for mentoring and a timeline towards taking in students.  I like the idea of a four year award because it makes it worthwhile to both partners. The senior could be PI for YRs1-2, and transfer to the jr PI for YRS3-4. We lack enthusiasm for writing grants that will cover only one or two years--it's just not worth the effort.  Not sure--but perhaps the RFA could describe some of the resources that would be captured or maintained by the transfer from SR to JR PI. These resources could include data files, transgenic lines, methods and methods development, technical staff support, biorepository stewardship, etc.  Jr people like me get irritated by the funding rates of senior people already. I wrote a grant that scored well, but it was obvious from the critiques that the reviewers like my PI--probably better than my idea. His reputation carried the grant (not that I'm complaining!). Senior scientists might feel pushed out if they are encouraged to apply for a grant like this. They talk about retiring, but receiving this award might make them feel like they 'have' to retire.  I work with some brilliant senior investigators. It would be nice to have a prestigious award available that would give them time to do discovery science. Of course, I wouldn't mind such an award for junior people like me, as well.
  [ / ]  Rockville, MD  I am a PO who serves as a Training Coordinator in my [ ] division, handling mostly fellowships and institutional training grants and advising also on career awards. I am in favor of this emeritus award and completely agree that it is good to transfer knowledge to Jr. faculty in the plan. I would strengthen this by setting up collaborations to ensure that the younger investigator has people to publish with and to perhaps spend time in the labs of, perhaps also using or replicating some provisions of a mid-career award such as the K02 or if patient-oriented research, the K24. I do not think the junior investigator should be 10 or fewer years since their terminal degree, i.e. an early career investigator. They have to have some standing. The senior investigator might also designate a committee of perhaps 3 senior investigators at the institution to continue to assist the junior investigator for a period of 3-5 years. I say this because I have seen a rough transition, occasioned by the passing of a senior investigator, where the junior investigator had difficulty in establishing credibility with the grant review committees and I am guessing also with publication committees. Of course the work stumbles as well as the junior person and those in his/her lab as well in my experience.
  Penn State University Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  University Park, PA 16802  Several of my colleagues have retired. I do not know the details of how that was accomplished, but it seems to me the potential for loss of valuable information is significant. We have all built up a body of work which, if not passed on, will be lost and future researchers will have to reinvent the wheel in many areas. Not all discoveries make it into publications. I am definitely in favor of such an award and actually think it should be more broadly expanded to help all researchers transition, not just those with junior partners.  Idea of this award is very good. However, not everyone will have a junior colleague to whom the research can be passed on, or who wants to receive it. In that case arrangements could be made available to the entire community such as: 1. Copying, archiving, and rendering searchable the laboratory notebooks that have been generated. Evidence that notebooks have been properly filled out and maintained over the career would be required. 2. Maintenance of a website where investigators could post the data and ideas behind the most tantalizing avenues that have not been explored. 3. A way to distribute valuable resources such as antibodies, cell lines and bacterial strains. These are extremely important to continuity.  If there is a junior faculty partner to receive the award, 2 years for the emeritus faculty and 5 years for the junior faculty to make it attractive and give evidence of productivity would work. A junior partner would be anyone less than 10 years from retiring, with some preference given to those furthest away from retirement in the case of multiple potential partners. The partners would have to be evaluated for their capacity to take on the extra research.  $$$  If the junior partner is from another country--can that still be arranged?  It is excellent that NIH is confronting this issue. I would urge it to think more broadly in terms of resource and information distribution of the fruits of each retired NIH researcher to the entire research community, and the taxpayers.
  Isn't this called "retiring" or "quitting"? There does not need to be federal funding for transitioning someone out of their position. Perhaps this money would be better spent on helping early-career investigators set up and run their labs. Any senior investigator who isn't planning for their transition out of their role shouldn't be rewarded with further funding.  The senior investigator should already be collaborating with a junior investigator if they intend to leave a lasting legacy. And they have had an entire career to acquire skills needed for a new role.  Zero. None.  Most emeritus faculty already have better retirement packages and better pay than any of the younger researchers will ever earn. Stop throwing money at people who are ready to leave academic research.
  University of Minnesota  Minneapolis, MN  I don't understand the language "that allows a senior investigator to transition out...." There is nothing that restricts most senior investigators from bringing their lab to closure by their own decision. Furthermore, the reality of <10% pay lines is a closure catalyst.  The suggestion that an emeritus award (assuming it is a research grant) could provide an opportunity for acquiring skills needed for transitioning to a new role seems a bit ludicrous. Why would (or how could) an NIH grant that supports research be used for such a purpose? What am I missing?  As one example, the 5 year award would be a baton passing exercise wherein the junior PIs % effort and responsibility would increase and the senior PIs would decrease. Ideally this would be an award the PI has held for some time and is now willing to relinguish. A junior faculty member would not have been a PI on an RO1. The junior and senior faculty members would join forces at the time of the competitive renewal.  This is a tough one, unless the pay line was stretched a bit to accommodate these awards. From an institutional standpoint I would be supportive if the award looked like it had the potential to substantially launch the career of a younger faculty member.  One challenge would be the importance of a discipline-specific match-making ie, two individuals at the same institution (although this may not be an absolute requirement, but most institutions would not want the junior PI to be somewhere else) who have similar interests in exploring a fundamental unresolved question in their field. Filling out this form has prompted me to think of my own colleagues at the University of Minnesota Medical School and how many "eligible pairings" we might have. Another challenge would be the institution's acceptance (or lack thereof) of such an accomplishment by the junior PI as being sufficiently meaningful to give credit toward promotion.  Strong tenure systems at public universities have created an environment that would make this emeritus model difficult to succeed. Given there is no mandatory retirement in these environments, senior PIs continue to submit NIH applications and their department heads expect them to continue being funded and require them to put as much of their salary as possible on these grants. This would detract from the altruism necessary to embrace the emeritus award proposed herein. Outstanding junior investigators would likely bypass the opportunity since achieving RO1 status on their own could/would be viewed as a greater accomplishment.
  UW-Madison  Madison, WI  I am interested in the prospect of putting instrumentation and materials to good use in another lab as a senior investigator is closing his lab. However, I think that the majority of ideas that are central to that individual's research plan can be passed to postdoctoral students for their own roles as PI, prior to obtaining emeritus status.  I have no idea how money from an NIH research grant would be necessary to make the transition described… what is the money going toward? If a junior faculty member wants to write a grant with a senior faculty member, what is stopping that for happening now? And, why should it be a separate pot of money? Again, isn't this (in large part) what a postdoc is for?  I worry that this type of thing is supporting an "old boys club" model of scientific advancement. As such, I think it is important that the definition of a junior faculty department gives preferentially to minorities in the field in which they work.  I am wondering whether the "co-PIs" would have to be at the same institution. I am also concerned as to whether a junior faculty member can show that they can "stand alone" when they have such an involved and (presumably) successful mentor directing them (i.e., is this type of award detrimental to the tenure process?).  I think the NIH should decide whether this award is (to put it bluntly) a way for junior investigators to get ahead, or a way to push out emeritus researchers who won't step down, because I'm not convinced that the two go hand-in-hand, and if they do, I again question whether NIH dollars are necessary for that collaboration.
  Purdue University  West Lafayette, IN  There is little community interest in an emeritus award. Senior investigators close to retirement should be held to the same standards as the rest of the scientific community when applying for federal grant dollars. I do not see the benefit in paying off establish scientists who are unable to secure funding through other mechanisms. We are losing a generation (or even generations) of young and mid-career scientists due to the continued underfunding of federal grant programs. I don't see the value in setting aside dollars that could be used to keep these researchers afloat to specifically point this towards senior investigators. Furthermore, the diversity in the ranks of the young and mid-career scientists is significantly higher. If dollars are set aside for senior scientists in the emeritus program, the NIH funded pool of scientists will be reduced in diversity. There are other mechanisms that allow senior investigators to sunset their laboratories - this is not needed and is not wise.
  A good senior investigator is already expected to mentor and transition their work to younger investigators. Through years of funding they already have a cadre of junior investigators already trained to take the reins. NIH allocating already scarce resources to fund something that already should be happening would be yet another example of how the already established investigators (baby boomers) are feathering their nests at the expense of others.  NO EMERITUS AWARD  NO EMERITUS AWARD  NO EMERITUS AWARD  if NIH were serious about funding more research, they would reduce the indirect cost return on R01 awards. they go for administration, not research. there is no reason why a second, third, etc R01 should have the same indirect cost return as the first.
  NIH  bethesda, md  Not necessarily, but it could help, pave the way to avoiding going cold turkey --- as one who has benefited from a gradual lessening of responsibilities I am convinced that a gradual process benefits both the employer and the individual approaching retirement.  Gradually cut off funds for students and research, while allowing PI salary to lag but then too gradually cut that back so that say within 5 or 7 years the award is closed down.  5-7 year transition seems right, with sr and jr PIs as MPIs on the grant award  First, the award would cause elderly PIs to think, maybe I should do this; also, the FOA would stimulate cross-talk and cross-fertilization between sr and jr researchers.  Impediments probably abound, but the net value makes trying the approach worthwhile  I hope you can sort responses by sr or jr status...it would seem to be important to know if both age groups see advantages in this approach
  The Rockfeller University  New York, NY  An excellent notion to explore the ways in which senior investigators can decrease their work in the laboratory and create collaborations with junior scientists locally or internationally.  The program may facilitate the process of retirement from formal teaching and active research while the professor could still serve as mentor to students, postdocs. and junior faculty. The university should provide an office to make it possible for the retired professor to take part in laboratory seminars and presentations by students and interact personally with everybody in the laboratory.  Many universities are in need of an "ombudsman" and perhaps the emeritus award to stimulate the creation of positions of independent senior advisor at the universities or research institutions. (My experience at the Rockefeller that a professor at the university retired from the laboratory work and became during my [ ] dean of faculty much appreciated by faculty and administration.}  My guess is that an initiative like this by the NIH would be much appreciated by the senior academic world. It could be presented like a Fulbright award with a fixed stipend and term of service of 3-5 years but be competitive and to become a recipient would represent a real honor.  It is difficult to find real impediments of such an award program. Instead it may stimulate senior professors to retire and relieve some of the clogging at the top ranks at universities. If the program could be given a name after a former senator or congress member, who over many years supported NIH and basic and clinical research and with good publicity become a truly prestigeous appointment at the end of your scientific career- like a real Award. Perhaps the new National Academy of Medicine could be involved?  There is a great need of experienced scientists for research training, teaching and mentor ship of students and junior faculty in the developing world. I believe such a program could have a serious impact in many parts of the world.
  University of Texas at San Antonio  San Antonio Texas  This would be a great way to make the most of investments made in investigators who have been in the system a long time and have built up a knowledge base, skill base and an active research program that is in full force. A junior investigator could step in and be more productive than starting from scratch. This could also potentially free up funding for junior investigators by allowing senior investigators to step aside while their work continues. My concerns are twofold. The risk of nepotism is high and will be difficult to manage. The people most capable of continuing the legacy are those who have been trained by that researcher. Moreover, if the senior person has a say in the decision of who takes over the lab, then they may not want someone who might come in and take the work in a new direction. Finally, there is the risk of developing a "European" model wherein the junior researcher is under the scrutiny and indirect direction of the emeritus researcher. If these risks can be managed, this could be a good program for continuing the legacy of successful investigators.  See above  Full salary for emeritus and r01 like funding for junior.  See above  See above
  Albert Einstein of Medicine  Bronx NY 10461  An award for senior investigators to transition from bench scientist to the role of "gray eminence" would be helpful.  A senior scientist who wishes to transition to this award would find a compatible NIH funded lab to work with.I am doing this ad hoc with University support .The emeritus award (poor name, since the older scientist may wish to remain active in University affairs) should provide some salary support for the senior scientist and some funding for the compatible laboratory to support either graduate students or postdocs and supplies to work on projects of joint interest, perhaps peripheral to the funded lab's grants and utilizing the senior scientist's expertise, equipment and knowledge of the field.  3 years -renewable. Partner lab must have an ongoing grant supported program, not reliant on the emeritus support, which should be supplementary  As a senior investigator nearing Emeritus status my proposal in comment 2 has worked for me. NIH salary support would have been helpful. Student support for me was invaluable, allowing new exploration leading to breakthrough publication e.g.Nature 2014.  Senior investigators take up space and resources and are often considered "deadwood"
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