December 11, 2023

Wissenschaftler feiern Dollar-Investitionen auf Glühbirnen-Trampolin (Illustration)

United States of America: US sponsors make it easier to apply for third party funds

The application process for third-party funding for research is too bureaucratic for many scientists to grieve. Complaints about time-consuming and less promising applications were not only heard in Germany, for example from the Junge Academy. According to a report in the online journal Times Higher Education (THE), two financial institutions in the United States want to take a different approach and reduce application effort. A financing initiative wants to get even without a selection committee.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Medical Sciences (NIH) is providing long-term third party funding to researchers and their laboratories as part of the first funding program entitled “Mira” (Researchers Research Award). Since 2015. Unlike other projects, Meera’s funding is relatively low. The program is more flexible and has fewer administrative restrictions. The direction of research is not restricted by the recipient program, but new ideas and opportunities may follow. This is reflected in the flexibility in the application process, which, according to the NIH website, is less about details of scheduled tests or specific goals and general research questions. The ability to extend funding avoids sudden disruptions. The exact amount of funding for each project is calculated separately, but applicants cannot apply for an annual fund of more than $ 750,000.

“THE” reports that Mira grants are renewed more frequently than other NIH grants. The longer the funding period, the less time researchers will spend raising new third-party funds, which reduces utilization effort.

Finance without selection committee

The “Hypothesis Fund” initiative takes a different approach to third-party funding: in this nonprofit fund, a team of scientists will act as scouts and identify innovative research projects that could lead to splits from other sponsors because they are too risky or lacking initial data. Like “Science” magazine in mid-May Informed about the establishment of the fundThe organization was founded by David Sanford, former CEO of Carrier Network LinkedIn. The fund is funded by private investors such as Reed Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. According to the report, seventeen scouts have already been selected and $ 300,000 has been awarded to self-discovered researchers. Over the next two years, 100 researchers will be able to implement their research ideas without using themselves in the field of health and climate research.

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The “Hypothesis Fund” initiative is similar in some respects to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s current Henriet Hers scout program. However, scouts are looking for scientists abroad to bring in their own company for a joint research project. Hypothesis financiers are not affiliated with scouts or their respective agencies when implementing their research projects.

Both initiatives provide only a small fraction of the total amount spent each year on research and development in the United States by government and private sponsors. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports to the U.S. Department of Health that it is the largest research fund in the world. In 2021, they invested nearly $ 43 billion in research. More than 56,000 new and extended applications have been funded, the NIH said on its website. However, only $ 1.3 billion of this budget goes to the Mira Fund. According to the head of the external fund, Dr. Michael Lawyer, the amount will be increased in the future. Lawyer has not yet given “THE” accurate information on when and how much the shares will increase.