Funding Agency Policies
APS monitors the policies of funding agencies, including peer review, conflict of interest regulations, and other topics that affect researchers. 

NIH Moves to Protect Research Integrity

On August 23, NIH Director Collins issued a statement in response to concerns about “risks to the security of intellectual property and the integrity of peer review.” Collins reminded investigators of their responsibilities to disclose all funding sources; protect the confidentiality of the intellectual property in grant applications; and not to divert the findings of U.S.-funded research to other countries. He also announced the establishment of a new working group to address these issues.

NIH Issues New Policies for Early and Mid-Career Investigators

On August 31, 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released new policy guidance supporting the Next Generation Researchers Initiative. The goals of the initiative are to help investigators establish and maintain independent research programs at an earlier age; stabilize the biomedical research workforce; and enhance diversity.

NIH Announces Initiative to Fund Early and Mid-Career Researchers

The new NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) is aimed at increasing grant support for early-stage (ESI) and vulnerable mid-career investigators. It replaces an earlier plan to limit the number of grants per investigator and was first presented at a meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director.

NIH Announces Policy to Limit Grant Support

On May 2, 2017, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak announced that NIH will phase in a new policy limiting the amount of grant support going to any single investigator.

APS Responds to NIGMS RFI on Strategies for Modernizing Biomedical Graduate Education

In response to an NIGMS RFI on Modernizing Biomedical Graduate Education, the APS Science Policy and Education Committees jointly developed a response that emphasized the need for students to develop a range of core skills that will serve students well in their future careers.

NSF, NASA Issue Policy Statements against Harassment

In the wake of reports of alleged sexual harassment by prominent researchers, two funding agencies issued statements underscoring their commitment to safe, inclusive research environments.

NIH Releases Agency-Wide Strategic Plan

In response to calls from Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its first agency-wide strategic plan.

NIH Announces Plans to Address Rigor and Reproducibility in Research

On June 9, 2015 the NIH announced plans to revise grant application instructions and review criteria to enhance the reproducibility of research findings through “increased scientific rigor and transparency.”

Ask Your Senators to Help Reduce Regulatory Burden

Congress can help research by streamlining burdensome and duplicative regulations.

APS Advises NIH on Sex as a Biological Variable

On September 11, 2014 NIH issued a Request for Information (RFI, NOT-OD-14-128) to assist NIH develop policies for the inclusion of sex as a biological variable in pre-clinical research studies involving animals and cells. The APS response recommends starting with accurate reporting of the sex of animal subjects and organisms from which biological materials were derived. NIH should provide training for investigators and reviewers before implementing the policy. APS also said additional resources will be needed to implement this policy without detriment to ongoing research. The APS comments are available on the Science Policy website.

APS Shares Benefits of SEPA Program with NIH

In a letter to the NIH Scientific Management Review Board’s working group on pre-college engagement in biomedical science, APS President David Pollock shared the many benefits experienced by teachers participating in programs supported by the science education partnership awards (SEPA). Dr. Pollock urged the working group to consider including SEPA in future plans to foster the next generation of researchers. (PDF)

NIH to Require Balanced Sex Representation in Animal and Cell Studies

NIH Director Francis Collins and Office of Research on Women’s Health Director Janine Clayton announced that the agency plans to require investigators to “report their plans for the balance of male and female cells and animals in pre-clinical studies in all future applications.”

APS Comments on Travel Restrictions for Federal Scientists

APS comments on the Office of Management and Budget 2012 restrictions on travel for federal employees directing agencies to cut their travel budgets by 30% and imposed new limits on conferences and meetings.

APS Suggests Ways to Reduce Regulatory Burden

On May 22, 2013 the APS offered suggestions for reducing the administrative burdens associated with federally-sponsored research in response to a request for information from the National Science Board (NSB).

White House Clarifies Rules for Federal Spending on Conferences and Travel

In May 2013, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo providing guidance on expenditures of federal funds for travel, conferences and meetings.

OMB Controller Alert on Meetings Travel May 2013

White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo providing guidance on expenditures of federal funds for travel, conferences and meetings. [PDF]

APS Meeting with National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Director

On October 2, 2012 the APS President Sue Barman, Science Policy Chair John Chatham, and members of the Science Policy Committee met with leadership at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), including Director Dr. Gary Gibbons. Prior to the meeting the committee submitted a list of discussion questions to NHLBI. The following are the responses.

Science Board Revisits NSF Merit Review Criteria

On January 10, 2012, the National Science Board (NSF) released recommendations on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Merit Review Criteria. The Board made no changes to the criteria themselves but told NSF to provide definitions articulating the essential elements of the criteria.

APS Urges Public-Private Partnership on Public Access

On January 11, 2012, APS submitted comments to a Request for Information from the Office of Science and Technology Policy concerning public access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally-funded research. In its comments, APS recommended that federal agencies “work in a collaborative manner with all stakeholders to develop an approach [to public access] that balances competing interests, ensures the rights of copyright owners, and provides for continued growth an innovation in scientific communication.”

Federal Research Grants and Administrative Burden

A survey conducted by the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) explores the amount of administrative burden experienced by faculty who receive federal research grants.