RFA Ticker, 2/1/16

tickerWhy do I keep updating this RFA (Request for Applications) tracker every Monday? Because an RFA comes with set aside funds to stimulate research in a particular area. The last ME/CFS RFA was issued in 2006. Over the last ten years, NIH has repeatedly said no to the CFS Advisory Committee’s recommendations for RFAs. The reasons have varied over those ten years, but the answer remains the same. On January 19, 2016, NIH responded to the most recent CFSAC recommendation by saying:

NIH agrees that innovative biomedical research on ME/CFS is urgently needed and encourages investigators to submit grant applications focused on new approaches to study the disease. This can be done immediately without specific RFAs for ME/CFS and grants will be reviewed and funded according to their scientific merit and potential impact on the field. (emphasis added)

In other words, no RFA will be coming any time soon. NIH claims it doesn’t issue RFAs very often, and that it has no budget for specific diseases. This is not entirely accurate, as the numbers in this RFA Ticker reveal. So until NIH issues the RFAs that the ME/CFS field so desperately needs, and which the federal advisory committee has recommended for ten years, I will keep tracking the RFAs that NIH issues for other disease areas and research foci.

  • Total RFAs Issued by NIH: 123 (October 2015 to date)
  • Total Dollars Committed to RFAs: $1,519,000,000 (October 2015 to date)
  • Total RFAs for ME/CFS: ZERO (October 2015 to date)
Week Beginning RFAs Issued Total Commitment RFAs for ME/CFS
1/25/16 6 $11,550,000 Zero
1/18/16 2 $4,500,000 Zero
1/11/16 10 $71,200,000 Zero
1/4/16 0 $0 Zero
12/28/15 0 $0 Zero
12/21/15 3 $10,260,000 Zero
12/18/15 5 $20,260,000 Zero
12/11/15 27 $765,090,000 Zero
12/4/15 6 $26,600,000 Zero
11/27/15 4 $21,000,000 Zero
11/20/15 15 $134,400,000 Zero
11/13/15 2 $16,100,000 Zero
11/6/15 10 $22,850,000 Zero
10/30/15 7 $49,800,000 Zero
10/23/15 10 $33,200,000 Zero
10/16/15 0 $0 Zero
10/9/15 13 $332,450,000 Zero

If you want more background on the RFA Ticker, read the inaugural post.

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7 Responses to RFA Ticker, 2/1/16

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for highlighting this.
    Sorry you have to do it over and over again.

    A sizeable RFA (SOON) would be very important for research for us.
    I also wish we got funding at levels appropriate for the severity of this disease.

  2. Sarah Turner says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date and keeping the contrast visible.

  3. Discouraging, isn’t it?

    Thanks for doing this for all of us.

    Accountability has been sorely lacking for so many years. We can’t let it continue unremarked.

    It kills me (literally?) to know what could be if the monies allocated in the past had been spent on research for us.

    It hurts to see other people (vested interests) get something, while we don’t. Again. And they lie about it. Again.

  4. Margaret Lauritson-Lada says:

    Thank you for putting this information together. I’m thinking it makes a good handout for advocacy, especially with legislators.

  5. Christian Godbout says:

    You sure know how to zero in on the problem.

  6. jimells says:

    Riddle me this, Dr Collins:

    Why do other research programs need RFAs, but the ME program doesn’t?

  7. Denise says:

    Off topic but NIH related –
    Have we heard anything about the federal partners meeting?
    (referenced in your P2P: Where Next? post)

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