To further our commitment to investigator-initiated research and Early Stage Investigators (ESIs), I am pleased to inform you that the Institute is now participating in NIH's R56 mechanism, known as the "High-Priority, Short-Term Project Award." In recognition of the challenges that outstanding investigators are facing within the current environment, our intentions are to 1) provide interim funding to preserve previous investments and sustain meritorious programs seeking renewal of R01 grant support, and 2) foster the successful development of the next generation of scientific leaders seeking to launch their independent research programs under difficult circumstances. Through the NHLBI R56 program, investigators with the following R01 applications may be given interim, one-year funding to collect preliminary data in support of a new NIH R01 application:
We view our participation in this mechanism as a pilot and will evaluate its success. I plan to report to you on our findings and any adjustments we make in a future message here in the Director's Corner.
Please note that investigators do not apply for R56 awards, and it is not necessary for investigators to request the NHLBI's consideration for this mechanism. Rather, NHLBI staff members identify eligible applications for conversion to the R56 mechanism based on the above criteria, alignment with Institute goals and priorities, and consideration of factors such as lack of alternative funding support. All R56 awards are subject to the availability of funds.
You can read more about the NHLBI's interim funding using the R56 mechanism and other efforts to promote investigator-initiated research and support the career development of promising ESIs on our Funding and Operating Guidelines webpage.