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As the Lab Winds Down

The US National Institutes of Health issued a request for information this week seeking feedback on its idea to develop an emeritus award for senior researchers. In recent times, the RFI says, the agency has focused on meeting the particular needs of early career researchers, and this new idea aims to better support senior researchers.

"We want to explore how we can help senior investigators who wish to transition out of a position that relies on funding from NIH research grants and facilitate the transfer of their work, knowledge, and resources to junior colleagues," adds Sally Rockey, the Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH, at her Rock Talk blog. "There are many high impact ways in which established investigators can contribute to science."

A recent report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Rockey notes, floated the idea of a transition award to support senior researchers who want to downsize their labs — which would free up grant money for others — and collaborate with early career researchers.

In the RFI, NIH is asking the community whether it would interested in such an award and for ideas as to how the award could be used as well as any potential barriers that might prevent researchers from take advantage of such a program.