ASH Bridge Grant Program Funds 15 Promising Biomedical Research Projects
Published on: April 16, 2018
(WASHINGTON, April 16, 2018) — Today, ASH announced
the names of 15
investigators, each of whom has been
awarded $150,000 through the ASH Bridge Grant Program. Designed
to support promising hematology research proposals that score well but cannot
be funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) because of budget
uncertainty, these ASH Bridge Grants will ensure that innovative research
continues at institutions in 12 states.
The NIH is the world’s top provider of medical
research grants. Though the agency recently received a welcome $3 billion funding
increase for FY 2018, NIH continues to struggle after over a decade of flat
funding and spending reductions that have drastically reduced its ability to
fund groundbreaking research. The increase was received during a time when the Administration
proposed freezing the agency’s funding in FY 2019, creating an uncertain environment
for researchers seeking backing for multi-year research efforts.
The ASH Bridge Grants are designed to serve as a
one-year bridge for researchers facing gaps in multi-year funding, giving them
financial support to continue their studies and strengthen their grant
applications without the need to pare down laboratory staff or to pause or end
“With federal budget uncertainty from year to year,
the ASH Bridge Grants remain a necessary lifeline for promising biomedical researchers
that might otherwise not be funded,” said ASH President Alexis A. Thompson, MD,
MPH, of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Today’s announcement coincides with the publication of
a commentary in Blood Advances, a journal of the
American Society of Hematology, by two ASH members influential in founding the
program. The authors review the successes of the Bridge Grants program since its
launch in 2013 and call on other medical organizations to implement similar
programs to support scientific research advancements in the absence of strong,
stable federal support.
More than 70 percent of ASH Bridge Grant recipients
have gone on to receive an NIH research project grant (R01) compared to just
over 35 percent of all scientists who submit amended R01 applications.
Additionally, over 70 percent of recipients surveyed report successfully
publishing their findings, and several have gone on to patent their work.
“These grants are critical to advancing science and public
health while maintaining America’s biomedical workforce and our competitive
edge in pioneering and exporting biopharmaceutical technology,” said Janis Abkowitz,
MD, of University of Washington and president of ASH when the program launched
Encompassing a host of basic, translational, and
clinical hematology research, projects funded in this 10th round of the ASH
Bridge Grant Program include work that will advance the understanding of risk
factors of blood diseases such as acute myeloid leukemia and sickle cell
disease. Since April 2013, ASH has awarded nearly $14 million in Bridge Grant
support to 107 investigators.
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org)
is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to
furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders
affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the
development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care,
education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org),
the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available
weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org),
an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.
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Stephen Fitzmaurice American Society of Hematology