Identify Collaboration Opportunities

Identify Collaboration Opportunities

Scientific collaborations are essential to any research program. Collaborations occur when scientists in different laboratories, including intramural scientists at NIAID, 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.

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 chiefs and their NIAID  Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) contacts about the proposed collaboration.
  • NIAID intramural scientists and NIAID extramural program staff: talk to your TTIPO contact about the proposed collaboration.
  • NIAID staff, 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. 
  • Intramural scientists may not receive a salary, travel expenses, or other funds from NIH-funded grants or contracts. Funds from collaborations can be used to pay salaries of contractors, extramural scientists, visiting scientists, postdoctoral trainees, and students as well as contract services, equipment, and supplies.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • For contracts, do not list resources from NIAID intramural labs, including collaborators, in your proposal unless the solicitation specifies that you may use those resources. If you do, your proposal will not proceed to peer review, as government resources included in one offeror's proposal must be available to all potential offerors. Instead, establish collaborations after the contract is awarded.
  • 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 section below.
  • 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 Division of Extramural Activities 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

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. 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.

Have Questions?

A program officer in your area of science can give you application advice, NIAID's perspective on your research, and confirmation that NIAID will accept your application.

Find contacts and instructions at When to Contact a NIAID Program Officer.

Content last reviewed on August 20, 2016