UG Medical School professor hits rare perfect score in America’s National Institutes of Health grant application

Professor Eric Sampane-Donkor from the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) has garnered significant attention in academic circles for achieving a rare perfect score in his National Institute of Health (NIH) grant application. The NIH regards a perfect score as an exceptional accomplishment, indicating an immensely impactful, innovative, and well-written grant with no weaknesses. The perfect impact score of 10, the highest possible score, places his grant application among the top one percentile of all submissions ever received by the NIH.

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NIH grants are highly competitive research grants that attract numerous applications from leading researchers worldwide. Professor Sampane-Donkor’s grant application, titled “The ZOOFOOD Project,” focuses on utilizing bioinformatics and disease modeling to address critical aspects of zoonoses and foodborne infections in West Africa. This application received the rare perfect score as it was deemed “exceptional” by the NIH’s Centre for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel.

In addition to the perfect score on the UE5 application, Professor Eric Sampane-Donkor also received two other awards from the NIH within one year. The first award, an RO1 grant, is a 5-year research project titled “The Pneumosic Study,” which aims to investigate the impact of vaccination on the population biology of pneumococcus among children with sickle cell disease in Ghana. The second award, a D43 grant, is a 5-year research training program titled “The RECABAW Training Program,” which aims to build research and capacity in antimicrobial resistance in West Africa.

These three parallel projects will train 52 masters, PhDs, and postdoctoral fellows, fostering collaborations between the University of Ghana and several institutions in West Africa, the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom. The significance of Professor Sampane-Donkor’s achievement is highlighted by comparing it to rare feats in other domains, such as pitching a perfect game in Major League Baseball or an amateur bowler scoring 300.

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Professor Eric Sampane-Donkor, a Professor of Bacteriology and Global Health, has an impressive academic background and extensive publication record. He serves as the head of the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Ghana Medical School, where he has implemented a transformative leadership agenda. Colleagues and experts have praised his recent success with NIH grants, emphasizing its validation of the impact of his research and the positive reflection it casts on his institution.

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