In March 2007, Gelb received a Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health in the area of phospholipase A2. This provides NIH research funding for 10 years without the need to go through a competitive review cycle. The description of the Merit Award from the NIH web site is given below.

In October 1985, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) began to offer a limited number of Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Awards to investigators who have demonstrated superior competence and outstanding productivity during their previous research endeavors in areas related to heart, lung, or blood research and who are likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner in the future.

The principal feature of the MERIT Award is the opportunity to obtain up to ten years of research support in two segments and thereby relieve awardees of the need to prepare frequent renewal applications. Specifically, an initial 4 to 5-year award is accompanied by an opportunity to obtain an extension of 3-5 years through an expedited review of a statement of the accomplishments during the initial period and a brief outline of plans for the extension period.

Investigators can not apply for MERIT Awards. After new and competing renewal investigator-initiated research project grant (R01) applications are reviewed in the usual manner, NHLBI staff and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) give further consideration to those R01 applications that meet the criteria for a MERIT Award. The Director, NHLBI, notifies those investigators who are selected.