Skip Navigation

Research Funding

Skip Content Marketing
  • Share this:
  • submit to facebook
  • Tweet it
  • submit to reddit
  • submit to StumbleUpon
  • submit to Google +

Opportunities and Guidelines to Facilitate Scientific Collaborations

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Some links work for NIAID staff only.

NIH encourages collaborations among scientists. This portal does the following:

  • Explains how to seek funding to expand existing collaborations or to start new ones between scientists at extramural academic institutions, intramural sites, and industry.
  • Provides links for scientific resources that are not collaborative but provide information on how to exchange resources or provide other support activities.

Go to the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Funding Resources for Intramural Investigators portal for information on finding research support.

Table of Contents

Identifying Collaboration Opportunities

Scientific collaborations are essential to any research program. Collaborations occur when scientists in different laboratories work together to move their research forward by investigating common research questions and sharing resources and information.

If you are a new investigator or an established investigator trying to explore new collaborations, the information below can help you identify people who might see a mutual benefit in working together to move a research agenda forward or identify new areas of opportunity:

  • Identify scientists, specific projects, scientific concepts, emerging trends and techniques through RePORTER, a searchable database of biomedical research projects funded by NIH and the result of NIH-supported research.
  • Identify potential NIAID collaborators in your area of science by contacting:

Collaborations on Grants and Contracts from Non-NIH Funding Sources

Scientists from nonfederal organizations, NIAID intramural scientists, and NIAID extramural program staff may form collaborative scientific teams and apply for grants and contracts from both federal and nonfederal organizations.

Read NIAID Extramural Program Staff Seeking Grants and Resources From Nonfederal Sources SOP for NIAID's process for extramural program staff collaborations.

Keep These Key Points in Mind

  • NIAID intramural scientists and NIAID extramural program staff: talk to your NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office  (TTIPO) contact about the proposed collaboration.
  • Obtain prior approvals for the collaboration from your intramural lab chief and scientific director if you are an intramural scientist or your branch chief and division director if you are an extramural program officer. Follow the Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP for information about obtaining approval.
  • TTIPO staff will do the following:
    • Determine if the terms and conditions of the grant organization or contract offeror are allowed for acceptance by NIAID.
    • Provide information on how to receive funds.
    • Assist with negotiations.
    • Advise whether a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) or other assistance involving proprietary rights, intellectual property, or technology transfer is necessary.
    • Advise whether a research project overlaps with research in CRADAs or other agreements involving the principal investigator or program manager.
    • Assist in conflict of interest reviews.
  • Funds from collaborations cannot be used to support intramural salaries but can be used to pay salaries of contractors, extramural scientists, visiting scientists, postdoctoral trainees, and students as well as contract services, equipment, and supplies.

Funding Sources Outside NIH

Read the following staff-only pages to find some funding opportunities from organizations that cover areas of science relevant to NIAID and accept applications from NIH investigators:

Collaborations Between NIAID Intramural Scientists and Extramural Scientists on NIH-Funded Grants and Contracts

Intramural investigators may participate in grants and contracts in a number of ways, including:

  • Serving as unpaid consultants.
  • Contributing to the conceptualization, design, execution, or interpretation of a research study.
  • Acting as the project leader of a project within a program project (P01) grant.
  • Having primary responsibility for a Specific Aim within a standard research project grant (R01).
  • Developing a major database for an extramural collaborator.
  • Participating in a multi-institutional collaborative arrangement with extramural researchers for clinical, prevention, or epidemiological studies.

If an extramural scientist and an NIAID intramural scientist have identified a shared scientific interest and have agreed to collaborate, the NIAID intramural scientist will need to follow the instructions in the Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP.

Keep These Key Points in Mind

  • Intramural scientists are encouraged to have early discussions with their lab chief and their NIAID TTIPO contact about the proposed collaboration.
  • Intramural scientists may not receive a salary, travel expenses, or other funds from NIH-funded grants or contracts.
  • The intramural lab may accept reagents, probes, laboratory equipment and supplies, and collaborator personnel to conduct the extramural portion of the research.
  • Extramural scientists may bring their own resources to work at an intramural lab even if those supplies were purchased from grant or contract funds.
  • A formal letter describing the intramural scientist's collaborative work, signed by the intramural scientist and scientific director, and reviewed by TTIPO, must be included as part of the grant application or proposal. See the Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP.
  • While intramural scientists may write a description of the work to be performed by intramural, they may not write an applicant’s grant application or offeror’s contract proposal. If the grant applicant or contract offeror writes the section of the grant application or contract proposal that describes the proposed collaboration, the intramural scientist should review and approve that section. 
  • Intramural scientists may not serve as a principal investigator on an NIH grant or contract while still employed by NIH, unless they are writing an application on their own time for a nonfederal organization for research that will begin after they leave federal employment.
  • Substantial intramural scientist involvement may require that the grant be converted to a cooperative agreement. For examples of substantial involvement read Substantial Intramural Collaborations in the next section.
  • NIH intramural scientist participation must comply with the Office of Ethics' regulations and conflict of interest statutes. See Participation of NIH Staff in Extramural Grants — Conflict of Interest and Ethical Considerations.

Providing unique biological materials, such as cell lines, antibodies, probes, or transgenic mice, does not constitute a collaboration but will require TTIPO involvement and scientific director approval. See Exchange of Resources, Materials, and Technology Transfer and Development below.

Substantial Intramural Collaborations

Some activities performed by intramural staff may be considered substantial involvement and could result in the conversion of the grant to a cooperative agreement, for example:

  • Acting as project leader within a program project (P01) grant.
  • Having primary responsibility for a Specific Aim of a regular research project grant (R01).
  • Developing a major database for an extramural collaborator.
  • Participating in a multi-institutional collaborative arrangement with extramural researchers for clinical, prevention, or epidemiological studies.

Whether an intramural scientist's involvement is considered substantial will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the NIAID chief grants management officer and DEA director after consulting with the relevant extramural division director. An extramural program officer will be assigned to the award for normal program oversight.

See Conversion of Grants to Cooperative Agreements SOP and NIH Staff Involvement on Extramural Awards—Cooperative Agreements.

Exchanging Resources, Materials, and Technology Transfer and Development

The NIAID Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) receives and facilitates all requests for collaborations, exchange of materials and resources, and technology transfers.

Whether you work for NIAID or are an outside investigator, contact TTIPO for information and procedures if you are looking for help on the exchange of resources and materials, or technology transfer and development: 

TTIPO will determine if the exchange requires a material transfer agreement, CRADA, clinical trial agreement, inter-institutional agreement, or some other type of agreement. 

Helpful Links

Intramural Scientists Serving on a Scientific or External Advisory Board for a DHHS-Funded Project

As an intramural scientist, you may serve on a scientific or external advisory board for a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)-funded project.

You may also serve as an unpaid consultant either as part of a collaboration or not. Regardless, outside activities will need to be approved as an appropriate, official duty activity. You should contact NIAID's Office of Ethics and your lab chief to avoid ethics or conflict of interest issues and determine whether the activity is an official duty activity.

Use the following links for information and guidance:

Using NIH Facilities as a Guest Researcher or Special Volunteer

Guest researchers are scientists, clinicians, engineers, trainees, or students who engage in scientific studies using NIH facilities but do not directly provide a service to NIH. Special volunteers provide research services such as patient care or technical assistance. Guest researchers and special volunteers are either paid by an outside organization or are self supporting.

You must first qualify to come to NIH to work as a guest researcher or special volunteer. If you qualify, the NIAID lab or branch chief will seek the approval of the NIAID scientific director and other required NIAID approvals.

If you would like to use intramural facilities to conduct research or do other work in an intramural program, contact an intramural investigator or lab chief to discuss the possibility.

If you are an intramural scientist and would like to help another scientist become a guest researcher, read the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Guest Researcher Program and Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Special Volunteer Program sections on the Non-FTE Programs page.

For more information, go to the following resources:

Supporting NIAID Research Programs

Under certain conditions, NIAID may accept bequests or gifts, such as donations of funds or property, as conditional gifts.

If you are representing an organization or are an individual and want to support an NIAID research program, see NIAID Gift Fund.

If you are an NIAID employee and have been contacted regarding the support of NIAID research programs, follow procedures in Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Grants and Other Conditional Gifts for Research and Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Requesting Approval to Accept Conditional Gifts.

Helpful Links

NIAID supports and makes available resources that both facilitate collaborations and help move products through the pipeline. These NIAID links may assist you with potential collaborations.

Here are general links to facilitate successful scientific collaborations.

Use these links to find NIH and NIAID policies, regulations, and SOPs.

Scientific Collaborations Questions and Answers

An academic investigator whose organization plans to submit a proposal for an NIH contract has a CRADA on related matters with intramural. The academic investigator asks the intramural collaborator to comment on the proposal and suggests modifying work under the CRADA.  What are some of the considerations involved?

There are a number of aspects to this question.

An academic investigator who wants to collaborate on a grant application or contract proposal must follow the process in the Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP for obtaining scientific director approval, Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) review, and in the case of a contract solicitation, the contracting officer's advice. 

The contracting officer will likely want to ensure that intramural expertise and materials are not critical for the performance of the contract's Statement of Work.  If so, they would need to be available to all competitors. 

Intramural investigators may not:

  • Write the proposal or receive a salary from the contract unless they intend to terminate NIH employment if a contract is awarded.
  • Serve on peer review for the proposal. 
  • Change the scope of the existing CRADA without the scientific director’s and TTIPO’s review and approval.

An extramural network seeks assistance from an intramural facility to conduct immune assays or manufacture a product.  What are the steps to take?

See the Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP for information about obtaining approval and establishing the appropriate mechanism through TTIPO.

Another federal agency seeks to collaborate with the NIAID intramural program.  What steps should an intramural investigator take to establish an interagency agreement?

First, obtain approval from your branch and lab chief for the collaboration—see Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP.

If funds are involved, follow the procedures in Reviewing and Clearing Inter-Agency Agreements.

What are the procedures for accepting gift funds through a direct award or a suballocation from an extramural organization that is part of a large collaborative consortium, if the intramural investigator is PI of the overarching consortium?

Assuming you, the intramural PI, have already obtained approval for the collaboration, work with your division management and TTIPO to obtain approval to accept funds from the NIAID Office of Science Management and Operations. Follow procedures in the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Grants and Other Conditional Gifts for Research and Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Requesting Approval to Accept Conditional Gifts.

What happens if an intramural-funded contract to manufacture GMP materials or feedstocks ends and the contractor wishes to use unused materials for an extramural project involving a grant?

This is a question for the contracting officer and will depend upon the terms of the contract and whether the unused materials are deliverables or government property or are expected to be placed in a repository for use by the scientific community.  The contractor needs to send a formal letter requesting contracting officer approval for use or disposition of the materials.  The intramural scientist should refer the contractor to the contracting officer.

What kind of clinical research activities can intramural scientists do if they get permission?

  • Play a role on a clinical trial for an extramural grant application?
  • Be involved in protocol development before a competing application is submitted?
  • Be a named investigator with a clinical role (as opposed to laboratory) on a protocol?
  • Be a named investigator on a protocol if a trial won’t be conducted at an intramural site?
  • Be the sole investigator providing specialized clinical expertise required for a protocol?

Yes to all of the above if intramural scientists obtain permission from the intramural section chief, lab chief, and scientific director.

If a protocol will be conducted in the NIH Clinical Center, the intramural scientist needs the NIH Clinical Center director's permission. Follow the approval process in the Intramural Scientist Collaboration on Extramural Funded Grants and Contracts SOP.

What collaborative research opportunities are open to the extramural community that uses intramural products?

Read Recent Licensing and Collaboration Opportunities. This site provides a list of opportunities for collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize various biological materials, vaccines, technology, diagnostics, and compounds.

Can an organization, for example, an academic institution or private company, provide funds to an intramural laboratory?

Yes. Potential donors should read NIAID Gift Fund. The NIAID deputy director for science management and operations must preapprove all conditional gifts. Find out more about the process at Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Grants and Other Conditional Gifts for Research.

Can an intramural lab use intramural resources, such as supplies, to support a guest researcher?

Yes, these costs can be supported by the intramural lab if approved in advance by the scientific director.  See Using NIH Facilities as a Guest Researcher or Special Volunteer section above.

Can intramural scientists serve on NIH scientific review groups?

Yes. Scientific review groups may include up to one-fourth federal employees, such as NIH intramural scientists, but in practice, roughly only one percent of peer reviewers are federal employees.

Conflict of interest regulations apply. For more information see 42 CFR Part 52 Scientific Peer Review of Research Grant Applications and Research and Development Contract Projects and Conflict of Interest in Peer Review SOP.

Last Updated March 27, 2014

Last Reviewed August 30, 2011