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Sharing Model Organisms Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Where can I find basic information on sharing model organisms?

See the following documents:



What is the sharing model organisms policy?

NIH requires all applicants and offerors applying for a grant or contract who plan to produce new, genetically modified variants of model organisms to include a plan for sharing those organisms in their grant applications or contract proposals, or state why sharing is not possible.

Which model organisms are covered by the policy?

You must share new, genetically modified variants of model organisms, including non-human mammalian and non-mammalian eukaryotic models. NIH Model Organisms for Biomedical Research lists other organisms that require a sharing plan.

Under what circumstances must I provide a plan for sharing model organisms?

For most research grants, you need a sharing plan or a justification for why you are not providing one, if you plan to develop a new model organism. Go to Write the Research Strategy in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Where can I access new model organisms?

You can find new genetically modified models and contact information at NIH Model Organisms for Biomedical Research.

If I am applying for a training, fellowship, or career award, must I provide a plan for sharing model organisms?

That depends. Institutional training awards (T32 and T35) are not affected. For fellowships (F), discuss model organism sharing with your mentor, and confirm that he or she has addressed the issue. For career development awards (K), the policy applies if your project involves developing model organisms.

What should I include in my plan?

Go to NIH's What should be addressed in my sharing plan?

Can I get feedback on the acceptability of my sharing plan?

Yes. Before you apply, discuss your proposed plan with an NIAID program officer. Go to When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer.

Where do I put the plan in my application or proposal?

Put the plan in the Resource Sharing Plans section of the PHS 398 Research Plan form. It does not count toward the the Research Strategy page limit.

Go to Write the Research Strategy in the Strategy for NIH Funding for more information.

For contract proposals, follow the instructions in the solicitation.

Who assesses my plan to share model organisms?

Peer reviewers assess the plan during review, and your program officer assesses its adequacy after review. You may want to discuss the plan with your program officer before you submit the application.

Though not factored into your overall impact score, the review assessment is recorded in the summary statement for follow-up. While an inadequate plan would not create a bar to award, it flags the program officer to make sure an acceptable plan is in place before we make an award.

For a noncompeting award, your program officer will consider your willingness to share as one criterion for continued funding. He or she may also be able to help you develop your plan.

Does the plan affect my review outcome?

No. Read more in Who assesses my plan to share model organisms?

How do I ensure intellectual property rights to my model organism?

In your plan, specify if and how you will exercise your intellectual property rights. Work with your institution's technology transfer or other appropriate office.

Who pays for costs associated with sharing my model organism?

NIH grantees and contractors. 

Can I ask for money to help pay for sharing my model organism?

Yes. In your budget, you can request funds to create and disseminate model organisms. See the Sharing Model Organisms SOP for details.

Does the requirement affect my grant's progress report?

Yes. Document your sharing of resources in your progress report by indicating the number of requests for your model you received and filled. Read Send Us an Annual Progress Report in the Strategy for NIH Funding for more information.

What should I do if researcher isn't sharing reagents, model organisms, or data when I think he or she is supposed to?

See What should I do if I think a researcher is supposed to share his or her reagents, model organisms, or data, but isn’t? in our Sharing Data questions and answers.

If I have more model organism questions, where can I get help?

If this policy applies to you, contact an NIAID program officer before applying. See When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer for contact information.

Contractors and offerors should ask the contracts staff member listed in the solicitation. See the Extramural R&D Solicitations list or Office of Acquisitions staff listing.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.​ ​

Last Updated April 04, 2016

Last Reviewed July 25, 2014