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A Backstage Pass

At Feedback Loop, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences' Jeremy Berg describes how funding decisions are made there. He notes that those decisions are made at paylist meetings rather than at advisory council or study section meetings. Each unit of NIGMS — there are five — has its own paylist meeting that is attended by the program directors. They then discuss and prioritize the applications, Berg says, including some of the applications that are beyond what the agency expects to fund. He adds:

For each application, the responsible program director presents the scientific topic as well as factors such as whether the applicant is an ESI or new investigator, how much other support the applicant has (particularly if the application represents the only support available to the investigator), whether the Council has given us specific advice on the application, whether the scientific area is perceived to be particularly exciting, and how much other research we already support in the general area of the application.

This, blogger Writedit says, underscores how important it is to have a good relationship with your program officer.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.