Second Chance for NIH Grant Applicants

Jocelyn is a staff writer for Science magazine.

Did you miss the funding cutoff despite a stellar score on your U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant? Don't give up hope. The National Health Council (NHC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit umbrella group for some 100 patient-advocacy groups and companies, unveiled a database on Monday that will hook up rejected projects and potential funders.

The site, called Health Research Funding, is meant to be "the Match.com of funding organizations," says NHC spokesperson Emily Noonan. Any researcher who had a proposal that NIH deemed worthy of peer review but didn't fund can post their abstract and contact information for no cost. Registered funding organizations (but no one else) will be able to troll the abstracts for projects they like.

Right now, the site has info from just the 42 patient-advocacy groups, such as the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer's Association. Companies may be added later, possibly for a fee, says Nancy Hughes, NHC assistant vice president for communications and marketing.

NHC proposed the database more than 3 years ago, but it took a while to round up the funding ($112,000 split roughly between Pfizer and NIH) and to build the database, Hughes says. On her blog, NIH extramural researcher chief Sally Rockey called it "good news on the where-am-I-going-to-get-my-grant-funded-in-today's-economy front."

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