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NIGMS Plots Course to Back Integrating 'Omics, Systems Bio Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The National Institute of General Medical Sciences today released a strategic plan that outlines its goals over the next five years, including an emphasis on continued support for its large-scale research programs such as the Pharmacogenetics Research Network, the National Centers for Systems Biology, the Protein Structure Initiative, and the Models of Infectious Disease Agents Study.
 
NIGMS’ “Investing in Discovery” plan is aimed at guiding the initiatives over the next five years, and it “shows how we will make strategic investments to maximize the benefits of the public funds entrusted to us," said NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg.
 
NIGMS said it has three central goals it will focus on through the plan, including maintaining a balanced research portfolio, fostering a “robust, stable and diverse scientific workforce,” and promoting an open dialogue with the scientific community and helping them communicate with the public.
 
As GenomeWeb Daily News reported last July, NIGMS is in the process of granting up to $10 million per year for as many as three grants to fund the creation of the Systems Biology centers, including one five-year grant, already announced, of a total of $14.5 million to Duke University.
 
The institute also said that “a commitment to investigator-initiated research,” particularly through funding RO1 grants, will be at the center of its plan.
 
NIGMS said it developed the plan “during a year-long process that featured comprehensive consultation with the scientific community and other stakeholders.”
 
Other points of emphasis over the next five years will include encouraging development of databases designed to handle genomics and other biomedical research information. NIGMS also plans to continue to support the creation of resources such as sample repositories, databases, interoperable software, and equipment used in exchanging data between various types of researchers.
 
The plan also calls for more inter-institute collaborations and programmatic linkages, including the corollary programs or links to NIH Roadmap initiatives such as the Clinical and Translational Sciences Award through programs like the Medical Scientists Training Program.
 
Another focus is to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team science initiatives, combining novel groups of researchers and funding cross-cutting research, such as the MIDAS program.

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