Category: Research Administration

Human Biospecimen Collections for Sepsis Research

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At the September meeting of our National Advisory Council, I presented a concept clearance for our next step in response to the recommendations of the working group on sepsis. The videocast of the presentation is now available.

A screenshot of Dr. Rochelle Long's Advisory Council presentation.

Watch the sepsis concept clearance at the September Advisory Council meeting.

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Change in Receipt Dates for NIGMS Research on Interventions Program

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We recently published a notice (NOT-GM-20-050) announcing a single receipt date each year for our Research to Understand and Inform Interventions that Promote the Research Careers of Individuals in Biomedical Sciences (R01/R35) program.

The purpose of the program is to better understand the factors (e.g., social and behavioral) contributing to the success of individuals pursuing independent academic biomedical research careers. It supports research to enhance evidence for effective, high-impact, scalable interventions that may be focused on training programs, psychosocial factors, critical career transition points, or institutional culture. Due in part to the small number of applications received in response to this funding opportunity, the change in the program’s receipt date will allow us to increase efficiencies in the grant application review process.

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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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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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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

Policy on Late Submissions of NIGMS Applications Due in May 2020

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Because many people in the research community are facing considerable challenges trying to juggle various responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak, NIGMS will accommodate late application submissions for due dates in May 2020 for all NIGMS-specific FOAs (see NOT-GM-20-029). For applications submitted through June 30, 2020, institutions do not need to request advance permission or provide a cover letter to justify a late submission to these FOAs. Applications with due dates prior to May 25 should use FORMS E and those with due dates on or after May 25 should use FORMS F, regardless of the date of submission.

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How do I know if my work fits in the mission of NIGMS?

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Ninety percent of the applications to our Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators (known as the ESI MIRA program) that were submitted in October are about to undergo peer review. The remaining 10% were administratively withdrawn, mostly because the research proposed fell outside the NIGMS mission. This is comparable to the proportion that was withdrawn over the past 3 years.

Withdrawn applications represent a lot of wasted time and effort on the part of affected PIs and are the source of considerable frustration. So what can you do to minimize the chance of this happening to your ESI MIRA application in the future?

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NIGMS Continues Its MIRA Program

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We’ve issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) PAR-19-367 to maintain continued support of our Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program. Under this new FOA, investigators with an active NIGMS R35 grant (both early-stage and established investigator MIRA) can submit renewal MIRA applications, and investigators with a single-PI R01-equivalent NIGMS award (DP1, DP2, R01, R37, SC1) can submit new MIRA applications.

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Does your application fit the scientific mission of NIGMS?

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Prospective applicants frequently ask us whether their application ideas fit within our mission. NIGMS supports basic research that increases our understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. We also support research in some specific clinical areas that affect multiple organ systems, including anesthesia, sepsis, wound healing, and trauma. In addition, we’re committed to training the next generation of scientists, enhancing the diversity of the scientific workforce, and developing research capacity throughout the country.

Not all applications for fundamental biomedical research projects will ultimately be assigned to NIGMS.  Other NIH institutes and centers (ICs) also have strong commitments to basic research that underlie an understanding of their own particular organ systems, diseases, or treatments. Each NIH IC is different and supports distinct research areas, so it’s wise to seek advice from the program where your science best fits. Before submitting an application to NIGMS, we strongly recommend that you contact the program director whose portfolio most closely matches your area of research.

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