Campus Messages

An archive of email messages sent to the entire UCSF community by the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor's Cabinet.

May 31, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Many in the UCSF community are aware that NIH has been seeking ways to assess the value of NIH grant support, and in particular wants to determine “whether it might be possible to fund more investigators with a fixed sum of money without hurting overall productivity.” [1, 2] On the premise that there are diminishing returns after achieving a given level of total support, NIH Director Francis Collins announced on May 2, 2017 a plan [3] to limit the number of grants held by any one investigator. In that scheme, a Grant Support Index (GSI) would assign point values to various grant mechanisms (e.g., an R01 grant is valued at 7 points), and any applicant who would exceed a GSI of 21 would be expected to adjust his/her grant portfolio if the new application were to be funded. Based on an initial analysis carried out by our Office of Sponsored Research, at least 42 UCSF investigators currently exceed 21 points, and at least an additional 18 are at 21 points precisely.

Not surprisingly, there has been much concern within the research community about the GSI policy as initially announced. I have been in active discussion with NIH leadership about these issues, as have many others across the nation. Direct communications to me, as well as a recent press article [4], suggest that substantial changes are being made. Unofficially, I have been told that GSI point assignments will be limited to R-mechanism grants, and that T, P and U mechanisms will no longer be included. I also have been assured informally that the 21-point line will not serve as a formulaic cap, but rather will flag an application and applicant for consideration of whether exceeding 21 points is merited by...

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May 22, 2017
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues,

We are honored and very pleased to share the news that Ron Vale, PhD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology in the UCSF School of Medicine, has been named to receive the 2017 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

Dr. Vale shares the prize with Ian R. Gibbons, PhD, FRS, visiting researcher in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. The award recognizes the scientists’ discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins, “the engines that drive nerve cell growth and chromosome inheritance essential to human development.”

In 2012, Dr. Vale was one of three scientists awarded the 2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his discovery in the mid-1980s of the motor protein kinesin, which transports cargo inside the cell along microtubule “tracks.” Kinesin makes it possible for the heart to beat and is also crucial to the separation of chromosomes during cell division. Drs. Vale and Gibbons have collaborated on studies of dynein, a motor protein discovered by Dr. Gibbons in the 1960s that moves along microtubules in the opposite direction to kinesin.

Their work underscores the tremendous value of basic research in advancing our knowledge of human health and disease. Read more about Drs. Vale and Gibbons’ Shaw-winning work.

The Shaw Prize, established in November 2002, honors individuals, regardless of race, nationality, gender and religious belief, who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications and whose work has...

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