I APPRECIATE the perspective the authors offer regarding our recent decision to limit eligibility for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Rockville, Md, Senior Career Scientist Award (K-05) to a single 5-year period and I welcome the opportunity to discuss our reasons for the change in policy. This new policy, for which I take direct responsibility, came about as a result of an analysis by an internal NIMH work group focused on Research Training and Resource Development. The group was charged with identifying trends in career development in an era that combines unprecedented scientific opportunity for NIMH research with the prospect of relatively flat budgets. Among the policy options developed by the work group, one recommended either abolishing the K-05 (which would bring us into line with other National Institutes of Health [NIH] institutes) or limiting the K-05 award to a single period. These options were discussed in formal meetings with senior NIMH staff, many of whom have long and positive experiences with the K grants program and with many extramural investigators.
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