Request for Information: Sustaining the Biomedical Workforce and a Potential Emeritus Award for Senior Researchers

Notice Number: NOT-OD-15-064

Key Dates
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Response Date: March 6, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


The strategies for sustaining a vibrant biomedical research enterprise are complex and multi-faceted. NIH strives to support not only the biomedical research workforce, but to support the foundation of research programs that our workforce has created.

An important issue for NIH is the long term succession planning for the research we support. Over the years, NIH has been persistent and creative in efforts to support early career investigators through policy changes and new programs. But we must also consider the needs of our senior investigators and how NIH can assist with the continuation of their well-established research programs, should they wish to transition to new positions. While many senior investigators may be happy pursuing their research questions in the laboratory, others may be looking to move into other roles, such as full time teaching and mentoring. Our senior investigators have invested their careers to establish the intellectual and technical infrastructure needed to pursue their research questions, and even if they wish to pursue new roles, they may not wish to dismantle their long-standing programs.

Therefore, NIH would like to explore potential synergies between the needs of both the junior and senior members of our biomedical workforce. We would like to gauge community interest in a new type of emeritus award that could allow senior investigators to transition out of a position that relies on funding from NIH research grants, while securing their own research legacies by passing on their knowledge and resources to junior colleagues. Such an award could permit a senior investigator to form a partnership with a junior faculty member in order to hand off his or her line of research inquiry in an efficient and cost-effective way. The senior investigator could train and equip junior colleagues to continue his or her research projects while working with them in a mentoring role. If such a transfer is not feasible, an emeritus award might allow some senior investigators to complete their projects and help them close out their laboratories.

Request for Information This Request for Information (RFI) seeks input from the research community, including scientists from all career stages; research administration professionals; departmental chairs; deans; professional societies; and other interested stakeholders. Public comment is sought for the following:

  • Community interest in an emeritus award that allows a senior investigator to transition out of a role or position that relies on funding from NIH research grants
  • Ideas for how one would utilize an emeritus award (e.g., to facilitate laboratory closure; to promote partnership between a senior and junior investigator; to provide opportunities for acquiring skills needed for transitioning to a new role)
  • Suggestions for the specific characteristics for an emeritus award (e.g., number of years of support; definition of a junior faculty partner)
  • Ways in which NIH could incentivize the use of an emeritus award, from the perspectives of both senior investigators and institutions
  • Impediments to the participation in such an award program, from the perspectives of both senior investigators and institutions
  • Any additional comments you would like to offer to NIH on this topic

Responses Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically via:

Responses will be accepted through March 6, 2015.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. The collected information will be reviewed by NIH staff, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website.

The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s). The NIH may use the information gathered by this RFI to inform the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to: