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OPENING REMARKS AND REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR
Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), welcomed members to the 231st meeting of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC). Because the September Council meeting is brief, most members participated via video-conference or telephone.
Dr. Nabel announced that Dr. Keith Hoots will join the Institute in January as Senior Advisor to the Director in the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources. Dr. Hoots is expected to assume leadership of the Division as time goes on. Dr. Hoots is currently Professor of Pediatrics and Division Head, Pediatric Hematology, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston; Section Head, Pediatric Hematology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; and Medical Director, Gulf State Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Treatment Center. Dr. Hoots is a past president of the Hemophilia Research Society of North America.
The Institute recently reviewed its global health program in light of the major impact of chronic disease worldwide. In response to the recommendations of an Advisory Group convened by Dr. Nabel, the Institute has embarked on several activities:
Dr. Nabel reported that the Institute's payline for traditional research project grants (R01s) is at the 16th percentile as we approach the end of FY 2008; at the 26th percentile for new investigators' R01s (if expedited administrative review resolves summary statement comments); and at the 21st percentile for first-time renewal R01 applications from new investigators. This year, the Institute was able to fund program project grants with a composite priority score of 150 or better (subprojects with a score of 170 or better); career development grants with a score of 165 or better; and training grants with a score of 172 or better. Furthermore, in keeping with its efforts to support new investigators, the Institute was able to fund fellowship grants to the 40th percentile. Dr. Nabel noted that the Institute's funding scores have remained fairly stable over the last 3 to 4 years.
In FY 2008, the NIH received a $150 million supplement from Congress, of which the NHLBI share was $15.5 million. The NHLBI used 56 percent of its share to fund competing research project grants (RPGs) and was able to fund, in percentile order, 13 original (unamended) grant applications with percentile scores outside the regular payline.
Policy Issues related to Amended Applications and Early-stage Investigators
Dr. Nabel reported on two policy issues recently reviewed at the NIH. She welcomed feedback from Council.
Council members offered opinions and suggestions regarding both issues.