Category: Funding Opportunities

Maintaining “Legacy” Scientific Resources


Our research programs often produce valuable scientific resources. But if one of these initiatives ends, then what becomes of the resource it generated?

To address this issue, we formed a committee of NIGMS staff to explore options for maintaining scientific resources resulting from NIGMS-supported research. We defined a resource as a non-hypothesis-driven activity to provide data, materials, tools or services that are essential to making the most timely, high-quality and cost-efficient progress in a field. We proposed principles for continuing support of “legacy” resources that are of great benefit to researchers working within the Institute’s mission areas.

Based on our discussions, we recommended that NIGMS pilot a limited program to fund the maintenance of existing, high-value resources. The NIGMS Council approved the concept in May, and the funding opportunity announcement just appeared in the NIH Guide. Applications are due once per year in October.

If you are interested in applying, read the announcement for details, including the special eligibility requirements. And before you apply, be sure to contact the appropriate NIGMS division director to discuss your ideas.

We hope that the results of this limited pilot program will help guide future decisions about maintaining important research-generated resources.

NIGMS Program Project Grants (P01) Funding Opportunity


The program announcement for NIGMS program project grants was published yesterday in the NIH Guide. This grant mechanism enables outstanding scientists working on different aspects of a similar problem to collaborate.

Applicants should propose innovative, complementary approaches to solving a significant biological question within the NIGMS mission. Over a 5-year period, program projects may receive total direct costs of up to $6.5 million (excluding any proposed equipment purchases and subcontract indirect costs). If you request more than $500,000 in direct costs in any year, you must receive approval from NIGMS staff before submitting your proposal.

I strongly encourage you to speak to the relevant program staff member before submitting a P01 application. For more information, see the NIGMS Program Project Funding Policies Web site.

Wanted: EUREKA Applications!


If you’ve got an exceptionally innovative idea that has the potential to jump-start a field, take a look at this year’s EUREKA funding opportunity announcement. Wondering whether EUREKA is appropriate for what you want to do? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions (Link no longer active). If your question isn’t there, ask me!

If you do decide to apply, start working on that application right away, because this year’s receipt deadline is October 21, 2010—a month earlier than last year’s deadline.

Research on Interventions that Promote Biomedical and Behavioral Careers


NIGMS has re-announced the Research on Interventions (R01) program that supports research on efforts to increase student interest, motivation and preparedness for careers in biomedical and behavioral research. Proposed research should test assumptions and hypotheses regarding social and behavioral factors that might inform and guide interventions.

We are particularly interested in interventions that are specifically designed to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups entering careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences. However, you need not restrict proposed research to students from these groups. In fact, comparative research that analyzes the experience of all groups can help us understand how interventions should be tailored to make more underrepresented students successful in biomedical and behavioral careers.

We strongly encourage collaboration among biomedical, behavioral and social science researchers.

Currently funded projects are quite varied. Examples include research on interventions at the institutional level and on student characteristics, such as self-efficacy and leadership.

Letters of intent are due September 15, 2010, and applications are due October 15, 2010. For additional information about the program, see the funding opportunity announcement or contact me at 301-594-3900 or

Funding Opportunity for Joint NSF/NIGMS Biological and Mathematical Sciences Program


NIGMS recently announced plans to continue participating in the Joint DMS/NIGMS Initiative to Support Research at the Interface of the Biological and Mathematical Sciences. The NSF solicitation Link to external web site includes more information about applying.

This joint NSF/NIGMS program started in 2002 to address the pressing need to bring mathematicians into the core of biological research and to encourage broader use of innovative mathematics in understanding life processes. Since then, NIGMS has funded 90 projects involving more than 150 investigators. This year’s awards included nine grants to support mathematics-driven research in biomolecular interactions, signaling and regulatory pathway dynamics, cell proliferation and stress response and branched morphogenesis.

Applications for the program are accepted once a year. The 2010 deadline is October 1. A joint NSF/NIGMS panel reviews the applications, and a group of NSF and NIGMS program directors selects ones for funding. The typical funding level for a 4-year grant is between $1.2 million and $1.6 million (total costs for all years).

In April of this year, NSF and NIGMS sponsored the Frontiers in Mathematical Biology meeting, which brought together scientists supported by the program. See my May 5 post for more about this meeting.

Earlier Submission Deadlines for 2011 Pioneer and New Innovator Awards


NIH Director’s Pioneer AwardNIH has announced the 2011 competitions for the NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards. These awards support exceptionally creative scientists who propose highly innovative—and often unconventional—approaches to major challenges in biomedical or behavioral research. Both programs are part of the NIH Common Fund and are managed by NIGMS.

The Pioneer Award provides $2.5 million in direct costs over 5 years and is open to scientists at U.S. institutions at any career level. The deadline for applying is September 13, 2010.

NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

The New Innovator Award provides $1.5 million in direct costs over 5 years and is designed for early stage investigators at U.S. institutions who have not yet obtained an NIH R01 or similar grant. Applications are due by September 20, 2010.

For more information about the programs and links to the requests for applications, see the Pioneer Award Web site and the New Innovator Award Web site.

A highlight of these programs is the annual symposium. This year’s symposium will take place near the NIH campus in Bethesda on September 30 and October 1, and it will include research talks by the second graduating class of Pioneer Award recipients. If you’re in the area, consider attending the symposium. It’s free, doesn’t require advance registration and also offers the opportunity to view poster presentations by many of the Pioneers and New Innovators. If you can’t attend, the symposium will be videocast live and archived at

New Funding Opportunity for Biologists to Collaborate on Structure Studies


PSI Logo

We have just issued a new “partnership” program announcement for researchers interested in a biological problem of significant scope to collaborate with structural biology researchers.

The announcement is a part of the PSI:Biology initiative, which will apply high-throughput structure determination to a broad range of biological problems. Successful applicants will partner with researchers within the PSI:Biology network.

Applicants should propose projects for which the determination of many protein structures will be important. The projects should also involve proteins amenable to high-throughput structure determination or targets that motivate new technology development for determining more difficult structures.

New Funding Initiatives at the Interface of Physics and Biology


NIGMS has joined two other NIH institutes and the National Science Foundation in issuing new funding opportunity announcements at the interface of the life and physical sciences. These new interagency initiatives offer an excellent opportunity for biomedical scientists to partner with colleagues in physics, engineering and computation to conduct innovative research with important health implications.

The first new announcement, Transforming Biomedicine at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences, targets translational research. It encourages quantitative scientists to team up with biomedical scientists (and potentially a commercial partner) to propose innovative ways to translate technological advances and basic knowledge into important new or improved clinical applications.

The second announcement, New Biomedical Frontiers at the Interface of the Life and Physical Sciences, targets discovery research. By bridging these scientific disciplines, this program aims to support cutting-edge science that has the potential to open up entirely new avenues for biomedical studies. We strongly encourage applications with multiple PIs who represent the physical, computational or engineering and life or behavioral sciences.

Deadlines to apply for both opportunities are May 18, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

I encourage you to take a look at the announcements and identify the types of projects that the participating organizations are seeking based on their research missions. NIGMS, for example, will consider projects that encompass cell biology, biomolecular modeling, nanotechnology, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology or biological chemistry.

If you have any questions about the programs, feel free to e-mail me.

Most NIGMS Recovery Act Funds Now Committed


Recovery Act Logo - Recovery.govAt this point in Fiscal Year 2010, we have committed nearly all of our Recovery Act funds. If you have not yet heard about the status of a supplement request, it’s very unlikely that we’ll be able to fund it.

As Jeremy Berg noted in an earlier post, we set a high priority on getting the funds out quickly, obligating approximately 90% of our allocation by the end of September 2009. We were able to fund about 40%
of the administrative supplement requests we received.

New NIH Director’s Initiative on Scientific Workforce Diversity


NIH recently announced the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce, a new program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that NIGMS will manage. The program is designed to foster new ways of thinking about initiatives related to scientific workforce diversity. Awards will empower exceptionally creative scientists to develop highly innovative, and possibly transformative, approaches to this complex challenge.

NIH expects to make approximately five awards, each up to $2 million in total costs over a 3-year period. Awardees must commit a substantial portion (generally 30% or more) of their research effort to the funded activities. Also note that letters of intent—which are encouraged but not required—are due by April 5 and that applications are due by May 4.

If you’d like more information, please e-mail Clif Poodry or call him
at 301-594-3900.