Fostering promising investigators is imperative to the future of rheumatology, so when the ACR Research and Education Foundation (REF) board of directors discovered that outstanding applicants were not being funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) K-series grant program (the NIH’s career development award program) due to budgetary constraints, the REF quickly called a meeting with the Arthritis Foundation (AF) and the NIH to discuss a solution.
“The board of directors recognizes the need for the REF to work closely with the AF and the NIH in our joint mission to assure that promising young physician scientists working in clinical and basic research in the rheumatic diseases succeed,” said Leslie Crofford, MD, president of the REF. Therefore, it was agreed that the REF and AF would partner to provide the support needed.
Through an accelerated Request for Applications and application review process administered by the REF, four promising investigators will receive a bridge funding award for up to 12 months, providing them with protected time to continue research, as well as time to reapply for a NIH K-series award.
“These awards are a pragmatic recognition that, in the current budget environment, even the best applicants may need to apply to NIH more than once to successfully secure their career development awards. What we cannot allow is for our young investigators to get discouraged or have their time diverted to other activities during the re-application process. The bridge funding award gives our young investigators the best chance to continue the momentum of their academic careers.”
For more information about the REF and the awards and grants program, visit www.rheumatology.org/REF.