Author: J. Rafael Gorospé

Headshot of J. Rafael Gorospé.

Before transferring to OD/DPCPSI in February 2020, Raffy, a geneticist by training, has conducted and published research on a number of childhood genetic disorders of brain and skeletal muscle. While at NIGMS, he managed multicomponent grants supported through the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program.

Posts by J. Rafael Gorospé

Apply for the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network Program


NIH has launched a major new initiative called the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program to investigate environmental exposures on child health and development. An important component of the program will be the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN), which the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is leading in collaboration with us.

The ISPCTN will give medically underserved and rural populations access to state-of-the-art pediatric clinical trials. The network’s clinical trials sites, which will be located in states eligible for funding through our Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, will receive support for the development of appropriate research infrastructure as well as supervised professional development in all aspects of clinical trials research and implementation. We expect the ISPCTN to help strengthen pediatric research opportunities and capacity in IDeA states, which historically have not received extensive NIH funding.

If you’re in an IDeA-eligible state (including Puerto Rico), we encourage you to apply to either or both of the ISPCTN FOAs:

Applications proposing studies on all pediatric diseases and conditions will be considered, but priority will be given to those on the focus areas and core elements of the ECHO program, which include upper and lower airway disease; obesity; pre-, peri-, and postnatal outcomes; and neurodevelopment. The application deadline for both announcements is April 15, 2016, with optional letters of intent due by March 15, 2016.

For more information about the ECHO program and its various FOAs, you can participate in webinars scheduled for January 14, 2016, and February 1, 2016, or contact one of us (,

IDeA Program Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research


As I discussed in an earlier post, the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program supports the development of infrastructure and capacity to enable investigators in IDeA-eligible states to become more competitive for NIH and other biomedical research funding opportunities.

While the program has led to significant progress in the basic sciences, clinical and translational research in IDeA states has, for the most part, remained underdeveloped. To spur greater clinical and translational research in these states, NIH issued the IDeA Program Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) funding opportunity announcement last year.

We have just awarded the first grants, to the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute Link to external web site (lead institution: West Virginia University) and the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center Link to external web site (lead institution: Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center).

Among the activities these centers will pursue are partnerships and collaborations within and across IDeA states; clinical and translational pilot grants; clinical research education, mentoring and career development; clinical research design, epidemiology and biostatistics; and projects related to the specific health and research needs of their states.

For more information on the IDeA-CTR initiative, please contact me by
e-mail or call 301-435-0832.

Introducing the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program


As Judith Greenberg reported earlier this year, NIH has moved the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program to NIGMS from the now-dissolved National Center for Research Resources. For those who may not be familiar with this program, here’s an overview.

Established by Congressional mandate in 1993, the IDeA program’s goal is to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding. It supports faculty development and institutional research infrastructure enhancement in states that have historically received low levels of support from NIH. In addition to enhancing the competitiveness of investigators and the research capacities of institutions in these 23 states plus Puerto Rico, the program serves their unique populations, such as rural and medically underserved communities.

The IDeA program has two main components:

The IDeA program currently supports 87 COBREs and 24 INBREs.

An example of how the IDeA program has built competitive research capacity is the Rhode Island INBRE. Over the past 10 years of support, Rhode Island IDeA investigators have received 21 R- and K-series awards from NIH and 28 awards from NSF and other funding agencies.

Similarly, investigators at the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology Link to external web site, a COBRE based at the University of New Mexico that has been supported for 8 years, submitted 20 grant applications to federal and non-federal agencies in the past year, 10 of which were funded.