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