Changes to COBRE Phase 1 and Phase 2 Awards and Applications

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We’d like to call your attention to a pair of recently published notices (NOT-GM-20-042 and NOT-GM-20-043) that address the unfavorable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on institutions’ ability to recruit faculty investigators. In response to this, we’ve reduced the minimum number of research projects required for our Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Phases 1 and 2 from three to two. Additionally, we’ll allow budget increases for recruitment costs and pilot projects. These changes apply to active awards and to applications submitted for new Phase 1 (PAR-19-313) and Phase 2 (PAR-19-312) funding opportunity announcements.

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Webinar and Other Resources for New MIRA ESI Funding Opportunity

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We recently reissued the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators (PAR-20-117). The first application due date is October 2, 2020.

We’re hosting a webinar to discuss this FOA and to answer your questions about the program on Thursday, August 6, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET. To access the webinar, visit the WebEx meeting page and enter the meeting number 126 938 7475 and the password NIGMS. For an audio-only presentation, call 1-650-479-3208 (US/Canada) and enter access code 126 938 7475. We plan to post the archived webinar and slides on the MIRA webpage after the event.

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Funding Trends: MIRA Applications and Overall Impact Scores

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One of the most common questions we receive about the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program is the likelihood of an application’s funding given a certain overall impact score.

Frequent readers of this blog may note that we typically provide statistics as they relate to our R01 portfolio, but we’ve yet to provide a similar “funding curve” for the MIRA program. One reason that MIRA applications haven’t been included in these analyses is that, unlike most R01 applications, MIRA R35 applications don’t receive a percentile score. The percentile score allows for normalization of overall impact scores across study sections to account for any differences in scoring behavior that are observed in review panels. See the Office of Extramural Research’s comprehensive blog post for more information about overall impact scores and percentiles.

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Retiring Peer Review Site Visits for NIGMS Training Programs

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At NIGMS, site visits have traditionally been part of the peer review process for some training program renewal applications. The visits, which generally happened every other renewal cycle for existing programs, were conducted by NIGMS staff and review panel members to gain additional information about the programs. For those of you who are program directors or peer reviewers of our undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training programs, it may feel as if site visits went away a long time ago. This is because changes to most of our training programs required new application submissions (see our previous post), which resulted in a significant reduction in visits, followed by a complete stoppage in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Webinar for IDeA-CTR Program Applicants

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If you’re preparing an Institutional Development Award Networks for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) grant application for the October 7 receipt date, don’t miss our upcoming webinar:

Thursday, August 6, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET

During the webinar, IDeA program staff will answer your questions about changes in the goals, objectives, and organizational structures of the IDeA-CTR program, as described in the funding opportunity announcement. Principal investigators who plan to submit new or renewal applications are encouraged to attend.

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ALS2 Funding Opportunity: Fundamental Research in Underlying Causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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We’re pleased to announce our participation in the Accelerating Leading-edge Science in ALS (ALS2) program (NOT-RM-20-019). ALS2 is a $25 million NIH Common Fund initiative to spur innovative research into the basic biology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award. NIGMS encourages our community of basic scientists working on relevant processes to consider applying for this opportunity.

ALS is a devastating disease with no known cure. The development of effective therapeutics can benefit tremendously from basic ALS research that 1.) tests highly novel concepts, 2.) brings together researchers from different scientific perspectives, and 3.) applies powerful emerging technologies from a variety of disciplines.

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Webinar for Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Program Applicants

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UPDATE: The video Link to external web site and slides [PDF, 5.23MB] from the PRAT webinar are now available.

We’re hosting a webinar for students and fellows interested in the PRAT Program for the October 2, 2020, receipt date:

Tuesday, July 14, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET

PRAT is a competitive 3-year fellowship program that prepares trainees for leadership positions in biomedical careers. Training includes a mentored laboratory research experience and intensive career and leadership development activities. PRAT fellows conduct research in laboratories in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) in basic biomedical research areas within the NIGMS mission. These areas include, but are not limited to, biological chemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, computational biosciences, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, and technology development.

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NIGMS Priorities for Small Business Development of Sepsis Diagnostics and Therapeutics

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Last summer, we published a notice of information on our priorities for sepsis research that applies to all active NIGMS funding opportunity announcements. We’ve now published a notice of special interest (NOT-GM 20-028) to promote early-stage research and development projects through the NIH SBIR/STTR program. 

We’re interested in receiving applications from small businesses or from small businesses and their academic partners that propose to develop novel tools and technologies for sepsis research, detection, and treatment. We’re specifically interested in diagnostic tools, predictive clinical algorithms, and technologies to facilitate molecular phenotyping of sepsis patients.

If you have any questions about NIGMS priorities for small business development of sepsis diagnostics and therapeutics, please contact me

Funding Opportunities: Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations (RADx-UP)

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We’re pleased to announce our participation in Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations (RADx-UP), a $500 million NIH-wide initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality disparities for vulnerable and underserved populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The initiative will fund a national coordination center and a group of interlinked projects across the United States aimed at improving COVID-19 testing and understanding COVID-19 health disparities.

The announcements for RADx-UP are:

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