By Richard Kronick, Ph.D.
I am pleased to announce that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has raised its budget cap on large investigator-initiated research grants. R01 health services research and R18 demonstration and dissemination grants are now eligible for up to $400,000 per year total cost for up to five years.
During leaner times, AHRQ lowered the budget cap for investigator-initiated grants, with the goal of supporting as many research projects as possible, if only at a lower funding level. Since then, we have received considerable feedback from the research community about that decision. A common message emerged from those emails and phone calls: the cost of doing research is rising, and the lower caps cannot support the level of high-quality research that people expect from AHRQ. Indirect institutional costs continue to increase, as do the costs of fringe benefits. Interdisciplinary teams are more important than ever, but cost more than researchers working alone. Finally, there is an explosion of data sources, but they don’t come cheap.
We heard you. And that’s why we chose to raise the cap. This may mean that we fund slightly fewer projects each year. But we expect that this higher cap will provide researchers with the resources they need to conduct the highest-quality health services research. We also hope that some projects may be completed more quickly, by allowing researchers to concentrate their effort, rather than stretch out a project over a longer time period.
I would like to take this chance to highlight AHRQ’s four core priorities for new research:
- Improve health care quality by accelerating implementation of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)
- Make health care safer
- Increase accessibility
- Improve health care affordability, efficiency, and cost transparency
In each of these areas, AHRQ continues to be interested in research that will reduce disparities in care and outcomes for disadvantaged groups. I am excited to see the new applications come through the door that take advantage of this new opportunity, and to see AHRQ continue in its role as the primary supporter of the finest health services researchers in the country. Together, we can make health care better for all Americans. Apply today!
About the Author: Richard Kronick, Ph.D., is Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This article was originally published on AHRQ Views Blog and is republished here with permission.