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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

Not Kept "Clean and Sanitary"

A Food and Drug Administration inspection uncovered problems with cross contamination at an Emergent BioSolutions facility, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Resumption Recommendation Expected

The Washington Post reports that US officials are expected to give the go-ahead to resume using Johnson & Johnson's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Canada's New Budget on Science

Science writes that Canada's new budget includes funding for the life sciences, but not as much as hoped for investigator-driven research.

Nature Papers Examine Single-Cell, Multi-Omic SARS-CoV-2 Response; Flatfish Sequences; More

In Nature this week: single-cell, multi-omics analysis provides insight into COVID-19 pathogenesis, evolution of flatfish, and more.