Exploring Future Investment Strategies:
NCI Advisory Board Retreat
On Dec. 9 2004, the President signed the Omnibus Appropriations bill into law. As noted in the December 14 NCI Cancer Bulletin, the initial National Cancer Institute (NCI) appropriation increase was $141 million; however, after adjustments are made for rescissions, assessments, and mandatory increases, NCI starts with fewer dollars than in fiscal year 2004. Shortly following receipt of the FY 2005 budget, NCI's director and its senior management team reviewed all of the program needs from across NCI and established operating policies and paylines for Research Project Grants (RPGs). For this year - FY 2005 - the success rate for RPGs is expected to be 21 percent, or 1,346 competing RPGs; the R01 payline for percentiled grants is established at the 16th percentile; increases for competing renewal RPGs will range from 5 to 10 percent above current levels; and full cost-of-living adjustments will be provided for RPG noncompeting (type 5), nonmodular grants.
Last week, members of three key NCI advisory boards held a joint retreat to discuss issues facing the institute in light of diminishing resources. The meeting of the Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA), Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), and National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), including the Chairs of the President's Cancer Panel and the Director's Consumer Liaison Group, served as a backdrop for what NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach described as a discussion "not just about where we are, but where we want to be."
Acknowledging that essentially flat budgets are likely for the near future, Dr. von Eschenbach stressed that, nonetheless, "We are going to continue to grow, to become more innovative, more focused…and we're going to have to make tough decisions." Read more
Despite Challenges, A Commitment to Excellence
Speaking to a room of NCI researchers and investigators last week, NCI Deputy Director Dr. Alan Rabson reflected on his 50 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all but the first year of which he has spent as an NCI employee. I've had the pleasure of working with this extraordinary man since my arrival at NCI, and over the past 3 years I have seen the skills, talent, and energy that have exemplified every moment of his long career. He is a role model of the true meaning of commitment and excellence, always putting NCI, its people, and its mission first.
Al launched the NCI Combined Intramural Principal Investigator retreat as he introduced Dr. Susan Gottesman, the winner of the first annual Alan Rabson Award for NCI Intramural Research. Dr. Gottesman, of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in NCI's Center for Cancer Research (CCR), has been with NCI for 28 years and is internationally recognized as a leader in identifying small RNA and its function. Read more