November 9, 2012
Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Dear Colleagues:

The NIAMS regularly reviews the programs which it supports to ensure that we are effectively and efficiently funding research to promote advances in science. To that end, the Institute is undertaking an evaluation of its Centers programs to inform the design of innovative funding strategies to address research challenges and opportunities that require synergistic, integrated groups of investigators, significant infrastructure and technological innovations. As part of this evaluation, NIAMS is seeking input from the investigator community and organizations involved in its mission areas.

NIAMS currently supports extramural research Centers through Research Core Centers (P30), Centers of Research Translation (P50), and Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Centers (P60) grant mechanisms. The P50 and P60 mechanisms are designed to support translational and clinical studies with inter-disciplinary investigators. The P50 is specifically designed to support translational research on a disease-specific theme that benefits from an integrated group of investigators, while the P60 supports clinical projects that may or may not share a common theme. The P30 and P60 (the latter through the Methodology Core) provide support to facilitate the research of investigators with other sources of funding.

This evaluation will provide a framework for how to structure the NIAMS Centers programs to best organize and facilitate multi-investigator research. NIAMS is seeking input from the research communities in its mission areas on the needs and opportunities for organized approaches, and how to structure support for these in the future.

As part of this effort, NIAMS has assembled a Centers Evaluation Working Group comprised of representatives from all of our core mission areas. The members of the Centers Evaluation Working Group can be found at: Centers Evaluation Working Group Members. Additionally, we have held or are planning “listening sessions” with investigators at major meetings this fall and early winter. We have already met with grantees at the annual meetings of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the American College of Rheumatology, and we will meet with investigators at the upcoming Orthopaedic Research Society meeting. We are also planning teleconferences with investigators from the skin and muscle research communities in the near future. The NIAMS Advisory Council will be updated regularly on the progress of the evaluation, and we anticipate presenting the recommendations from the Working Group at the September 2013 meeting of the Advisory Council.

We would like to hear your forward-thinking ideas for our Centers Programs. More information can be found in a recently published Request for Information: Evaluation of NIAMS Centers Programs (NOT-AR-13-007). We also encourage you to submit your comments on the NIAMS website at: NIAMS Training Grant and Career Development Award Program Evaluation.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health

Last Reviewed: 11/09/2012