FY2017 Fiscal Operations Plan
On December 10, President Obama signed the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 2028). This legislation provides the NEI with the authority to operate through April 28, 2017. The NEI will implement this legislation in a manner that emphasizes investigator-initiated research project grants, supports new and early-stage investigators, continues a strong commitment to clinical research and implements the Audacious Goal Initiative.
Research Project Grants (RPGs)
Non-competing awards: The Research Project Grants (RPG) in this category includes the R00, R01, R15, R21, R34, U01, DP1 and DP2 grant mechanisms. NEI RPGs will be issued at 90% of the previously-committed level on the most recent Notice of Award (NOA). All continuing RPGs which had been reduced to the 90% level may or may not be adjusted upward depending on the final resolution of the FY2017 budget. NOAs for all other continuing grant mechanisms will be issued at the recommended level. No annual inflationary increments will be provided in the future for any grants.
Competing Awards: All competing RPGs will be funded at the recommended levels; however, if appropriate, administrative/programmatic adjustments will be made. The award rate (number of applications funded divided by the number of applications reviewed) for RPGs is anticipated to be approximately 25%, with an approximate average total cost unchanged from FY2016 at $394,805. NEI will continue to support new investigators on R01-equivalent grant awards at a success rate equivalent to that of established investigators submitting new R01-equivalent applications. Approximately 50% of these new investigators will be Early Stage Investigators (within 10 years of the terminal professional degree). NEI will also continue to manage the portfolio average length of RPG grants to four years.
National Research Service Awards
The numbers of Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards will remain relatively constant, compared with the FY2016 levels. Undergraduate and graduate student stipends will increase by an average of 1.7% as recommended by the Advisory Committee to the Director regarding the Biomedical Research Workforce.
NEI anticipates that the numbers of Small Business, Center Core, Career Development, R24 Resource, and Cooperative Clinical Research awards will remain relatively constant compared with the FY2016 levels.
Audacious Goal (AGI)
The NEI has embarked on a focused initiative to regenerate neurons and neural connections in the eye and visual system. The NEI AGI is targeting the photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells. No new funds will be set-aside to support AGI research projects in FY2017.
Salary Limits are set at the Executive Level II limit, $185,100.