Science doesn’t simply happen when money is spent; it requires immense effort, creative ideas, and dedicated time from well-trained scientists. Many factors can threaten these other requirements, such as funding instability and the aging of scientists. The average age at which an investigator receives their first R01, the mainstay grant of biomedical research, is now well into the mid-40’s. This drives many of the most talented individuals out of biomedical research, and curtails the benefit we as investors in biomedical research derive from those who remain, by limiting their ability to perform independent science during some of their most creative years.
To begin to address this one problem, the NIH has begun an experiment, the Early Independence Award, funding young investigators immediately after their Ph.D. so that they may undertake their own research independently. I’m excited to be officially joining this experiment, and hope you’ll see exciting work from the Meyer lab at MIT soon.