publication date: Sep. 4, 2020

Sharpless lays out a scenario for achieving 15% payline for RPGs

NCAB approves ad hoc group to review TMIST, other detection trials impacted by COVID

By Alexandria Carolan & Paul Goldberg

Budget increases in 2020 enabled NCI to boost funding for research project grants, pushing the payline up by two percentage points from last year’s level.

Addressing the National Cancer Advisory Board Sept. 2, NCI Director Ned Sharpless said that in addition to reaching the 10% bar, the institute has restored full funding for non-competing grants. Grant sizes were reduced amid the wave of RPG applications, which slammed into the institute in recent years (The Cancer Letter, Jan. 25, 2019).

“This year, we increased the RPG pool on the order of $200 million, to go from 8% to 10%, and next year we will have to make a fairly substantial investment in the RPG pool, just to cover the increased noncompeting awards, plus whatever we then have to do for extra competing awards,” Sharpless said to NCAB.

To illustrate his point, Sharpless’s slide displayed a graph contained in the just-published NCI Annual Plan & Budget Proposal for FY 2022, which shows the commitment of funds that would be required to increase funding of RPGs by 1% a year over the next five years. 

There is no easy way to boost the payline to 15%, the oft-repeated goal of the cancer research community. “We have already taken monies from other parts of the NCI to put into the RPG pool, to the extent that I think that’s doable, but there are a lot of great things outside the RPG pool, like the … Continue reading Sharpless lays out a scenario for achieving 15% payline for RPGs

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