NIAID Funding News August 20, 2014

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles.

Researching Research Topics and Teammates

Staying at the cutting edge involves more than just keeping up with the journals and attending scientific conferences. Here are some more ways to learn about emerging trends in funded research—and potentially find new collaborators, too.

NIH's Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) site offers many reports on NIH spending. Today, we'll focus on two key parts of that site: RCDC and RePORTER.

RCDC for the Big Picture

First, get the big picture of how NIH spends its money on over 200 research categories usingEstimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC). Right now, you'll see historical data for FY 2010 through FY 2013. NIH also shares estimates for FY 2014 and FY 2015, which were projected from actual data.

You can click any of the underlined dollar values for details, or try using the search box. If you drill down far enough through the RCDC site, you'll end up in the RePORTER system.

Speaking of RCDC, the terminology you use in your application is what allows NIH to properly categorize and assign it—go to NIAID's Write Your Research Plan for tips.

RePORTER for Specifics

Try out the many search functions of NIH RePORTER, a free database of funded projects, investigators, publications, and patents. This can be a good way to identify which research areas are highly supported or underrepresented.

The RePORTER search results show you lists of projects and names of funded researchers; the potential collaborators or competitors we mentioned earlier. You can review project summaries, see the results on a map, or use the other tabs on the search results for links toPubMed Central publications and iEdison patent information.

To see active projects broken out by NIH institute or center, use RePORTER's Browse NIHoption.

RePORTER also offers some features that are new additions since the last time we wrote about it:

  • The Matchmaker function is still in beta testing. Just paste in text, such as a scientific abstract, and Matchmaker will give you a list of up to 100 similar projects.
  • You can search for news releases now. On the main search page, go to the Text Search section and choose the News checkbox.
  • In the NIH Spending Category field, you can use Boolean search operators now: "AND" and "OR." So searching for "Aging OR Alzheimer's" finds projects in either category, while searching "Aging AND Alzheimer's" returns only projects that cover both categories.
  • You can search by Program Officer now, too.

Here are some tips to modify your query results:

  • To get the most recent results, set the Fiscal Year (FY) to "2014" on the upper right corner of the search form.
  • To be more inclusive, use the default value of "Active Projects" in that same field.
  • To search using RCDC spending categories, go to Project Details and use the NIH Spending Category field. This data covers only FY 2008 to FY 2013; FY 2014 won't be available until the fiscal year ends.

Save Your Work

In RCDC or RePORTER, you can save your search results at any time using the green Excel Export button.

But for a more in-depth analysis, there's another option: ExPORTER. You can download the raw data behind RePORTER and analyze it with your own tools or even load it into your own data system.

Last, but not least, you can save your finely-crafted queries by registering for My RePORTER. This also gives you the option of getting an alert whenever a new project or publication appears for your queries. Learn more in the My RePORTER Tutorial.

If you enjoy data analysis enough to compare your search results with NIH’s official year-end reports, there are some caveats:

Header: Opportunities and Resources.

Funding Opportunities Zero In on Xenotransplantation

Through two recent funding opportunity announcements (FOAs)—a U01 and companion U19—you can apply to participate in the Immunobiology of Xenotransplantation Cooperative Research Program (IXCRP).

Started in 2005, IXCRP's goal has been developing preclinical porcine to nonhuman primate (NHP) models of xenotransplantation and addressing immunological and physiological issues critical to xenotransplantation outcome.

The Program's long-term goal is to develop novel and effective xenotransplantation strategies learned from the preclinical animal models and translate them to clinical application.

Although significant progress has been made in xenotransplantation, some challenges remain. Therefore, these latest FOAs continue the work of IXCRP in developing novel and improved preclinical porcine to NHP models of islet, kidney, heart, lung, or liver xenotransplantation.

Research conducted through the Program will address immunological and physiological issues critical to the engraftment, survival, and function of xenografts.

Research topics may include:

  • Developing and characterizing life-supporting models of xenotransplantation.
  • Delineating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of immune tolerance induction.
  • Elucidating the mechanisms of hyperacute, acute vascular and cellular rejection as well as chronic rejection of xenografts.
  • Characterizing the host innate and adaptive immune responses to the xenograft post-transplantation.
  • Evaluating immune responses to xenografts in different stages of development (e.g., neonatal islet-like clusters versus adult islets).

For additional areas of research interest and application requirements, read the July 18, 2014,U01 and U19 Guide notices.

If you apply for the U19, learn more about multiprojects in our Multiproject Awards SOP and Guidance for Preparing a Multiproject Research Application.

Optional letters of intent due October 20, 2014. The application deadline is November 20, 2014.

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Collaborate With Chinese Partners on HIV/AIDS Cure Research

In both the U.S. and China, researchers seeking to cure HIV/AIDS are turning their attention to HIV reservoirs and the ability of the virus to rebound despite optimal highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). To connect American investigators with their Chinese colleagues to study avenues to a cure, NIH and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) have provided a coordinated funding opportunity: a new NIH R01 announcement and a corresponding NSFC funding announcement.

Research Scope

The range of supported research is vast. We are looking for studies that involve:

  • Establishing and maintaining HIV-1 latency at the cellular, tissue, and organismal level.
  • Designing novel virologic-, immunologic-, and cellular-based therapies for immune containment or eradication of HIV reservoirs.
  • Developing sensitive and quantitative assays, methods, or imaging techniques that can be applied to measuring residual HIV reservoirs in HIV-positive individuals on effective antiretroviral therapy.
  • Identifying viral reservoirs that cause viral levels to rebound when HAART is stopped.

You can find additional examples of supported research in the funding announcements.

Your application must meet the following requirements; otherwise, it will be considered nonresponsive and withdrawn without review.

  1. Research must be related to HIV/AIDS.
  2. No select agent involvement in any study.
  3. No clinical trials, including those for drugs, biologics, or diagnostics.

A principal goal of this program is to attract and support novel research. Thus, unlike standard R01 applications, preliminary data are not required.

Special Application Instructions

For your application to be considered responsive, it must be paired with a corresponding NSFC application from a Chinese investigator.

Chinese investigators responding to the NSFC announcement are required to include a copy of the NIH application provided by their U.S. collaborator. Thus, you must provide a complete copy of your NIH submission to your Chinese counterpart.  If you have concerns about confidentiality or proprietary information, take this requirement into account before deciding what information to submit in your NIH application.

Your and your collaborator’s applications must both be responsive to their respective funding opportunities for either application to be considered for funding under this program. For example, both must adhere to NIH regulations for conducting research involving human subjects and vertebrate animals. Your Chinese collaborator may need to fulfill additional NSFC requirements that do not affect your application to NIH.

Funding decisions will take into account the relevance to the collaboration and the research priorities of both NIH and NSFC, in addition to overall impact/priority score and availability of funds.

Budgets and Deadlines

NIH application budgets are limited to $200,000 in total costs annually, with a maximum project period of three years. NSFC budgets are limited to ¥3 million.

Optional letters of intent are due October 21, 2014. NIH applications are due November 21, 2014. NSFC applications are due November 25, 2014.

See the July 16, 2014, Guide notice for full details.

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HIV Researchers: An R01 Prevention Opportunity for You

Sequels aren't just for movies. The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) Mucosal Environment and HIV Prevention II (MEHP II) continues the overall objective of its predecessor but has significant changes.

Like the previous FOA, this one seeks research that will lead to enhanced safety and efficacy of HIV prevention interventions by optimizing the interaction of genital (female and male) and gastrointestinal (GI) tract mucosa with nonvaccine biomedical prevention (nBP) candidates and strategies.

To achieve this goal, the MEHP II FOA will support innovative, high-risk, hypothesis-driven research projects that address the following underserved emerging areas of programmatic interest:

  • The role of different mucosal site physiological states in altering nBP safety and efficacy, such as normal, inflamed, and/or wounded tissue, e.g., from sexual activity or sexual violence.
  • Pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic relationships of nBP candidates in different mucosal compartments and novel models to measure these relationships.
  • Studies into the basic and molecular cellular and biological mechanisms by which female and/or male hormones, age, immune factors, genital secretions, and the microbiome (bacterial, viral, archeal, fungal) affect HIV susceptibility and efficacy of nBP.

We encourage applications with the goal of understanding the effects of nBP active pharmaceutical ingredients, delivery vehicles, formulations/excipients, or contraceptives on the genital and GI mucosa and HIV target cells.

We discourage applications with hypothesis-generating or descriptive studies.

For full details, including responsive and nonresponsive areas of research interest—which reflect changes from the previous FOA—see the July 22, 2014, Guide notice.

Optional letters of intent due October 21, 2014. The application deadline is November 21, 2014.

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Exploring the Ramifications of Genomic Research

The new frontier of genomic research is fraught with emerging challenges, which are the focus of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genomic Research Program. Investigators who specialize in these issues should take note of NIAID participation in a new funding opportunity for R01, R21, or R03 grants through the ELSI program.

NIAID is most interested in issues related to genomic research on infectious diseases, allergy, autoimmune disorders, and transplantation. Our topics of interest include research on:

  • Confidentiality, privacy, identifiability, consent, permission, or risk of individual or group stigma or social harm or other ethical issues in research on human genetic determinants of infectious disease transmission.
  • Stakeholder views (including institutional review boards or ethics committees, community members, and others) or community consultation.
  • Normative and empirical questions related to return of genetics research results in resource-limited settings.

For other examples, see the NIAID section of ELSI Research Priorities and Possible Research Topics.

To research these topics, investigators are encouraged to propose data-generating qualitative or quantitative approaches; legal, economic and normative analyses; or other analytical or conceptual research methodologies.

For complete information, including details on budget and project period restrictions, read the July 10, 2014, R01R21, andR03 Guide notices.

A Reminder for HIV/AIDS Researchers

Bioethicists who work on HIV/AIDS should also note that January 7, 2015, is the final application deadline for the R01 and R21 FOAs, Ethical Issues in Research on HIV/AIDS and Its Comorbidities.

We first covered these FOAs in our August 15, 2012, article We Want You… to Study Bioethics of HIV Research.”

For information about the NIAID bioethics FOAs or the ELSI FOAs, applicants are encouraged to contact NIAID's Dr. Liza Dawson with any questions.

Header: Other News.

Deadline for Small Business CAP Program Is Near

The Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) for NIH Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II awardees returns in September for its 10th year. CAP provides its participants with one-on-one mentoring and consulting sessions, training workshops, access to industry experts, and networking opportunities.

CAP, funded by NIH and managed by Larta, Inc., will support 80 companies for nine months, from September 2014 to June 2015.

If you are interested, you need to apply immediately. The deadline is September 2, 2014.

Learn more about the program and how to apply at Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) for Phase II SBIR and STTR Awardees.

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News Briefs

Revised Policy on Individual Development Plans. NIH continues to encourage institutions to develop and implement individual development plans (IDPs) for NIH-supported graduate students and postdocs. Now, however, reporting how and whether IDPs are used is required in annual progress reports, starting with those received on or after October 1, 2014. Read the August 4, 2014, Guide notice for details.

Requirements for Sandy Supplements. If you received a Hurricane Sandy-related administrative supplement, be sure to read this July 30, 2014, Guide notice. In addition to information on financial closeout requirements, it gives revised details about reporting progress. You should now do so in the parent grant's annual progress report rather than in a separate Research Performance Progress Report due on the anniversary of the supplement's budget start date.

Still Time to Register for 2014 Small Business Conferences. You can register now for the 16th annual NIH SBIR/STTR Conference, which will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from October 21 to 23. For a more detailed look at NIAID's SBIR/STTR program, consider attending the NIAID Small Business Workshop as well. It will take place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 4 and 5, and will include opportunities to network with NIAID staff.

Only One Funding Newsletter in September. Our next issue will be published on September 17, 2014. In the meantime, you can stay informed of NIAID news and opportunities by monitoring Latest Funding Updates.

Header: Advice Corner.

Consider Our Advice When Considering an R03

If you're thinking of applying for a small grant (R03), it's important to make an informed decision. To that end, we give you some information and advice that may help.

Keep In Mind R03 Basics

R03 grants support short-duration, limited-dollar projects. They are ideal for small feasibility studies, nudging an ongoing interest in a new direction, or developing or fine-tuning methodology.

Take note: the R03's two-year award period and $100,000 direct cost limit for the entire project period are generally not sufficient to develop the foundation for a research project (R01) grant.

Weigh Your Chances of Getting an R03

Don't let the word "small" fool you into thinking that an R03 is "easy" to get. It's not.

Like any other grant, your application will have stiff competition, will undergo peer review, and must be suitable for the activity code.

Your project must be tightly focused, able to be completed in two years, and manageable on a maximum of $100,000 in direct costs over the two-year period. If your project doesn’t meet these criteria, it’s not likely to be well received by reviewers.

Examples of projects that fit the R03 purpose include:

  • Pilot or feasibility studies
  • Secondary analysis of existing data
  • Small, self-contained research projects
  • Development of research methodology or new research technology

To see the types of projects that have been funded, go to NIH RePORTER and select R03 in the Activity Code field.

By the Numbers

If you want to use numbers to gauge the ease or difficulty of getting an R03, consider these:

  • The NIAID FY 2014 R03 payline is 23 overall impact score.
  • In FY 2013, NIAID's success rate for new R03 applications was 20.3 percent.

To learn about paylines, see Paylines Start to Finish and Understand Paylines and Percentiles under Related Links below.

Also in that section, find additional success rate data at Research Project Success Rates for the Selected Institute (NIAID) and Research Project Success Rates by Type and Activity for 2013.

New Investigators: R03 Might Not Be Your Best Option

At first glance, an R03 seems well suited to a new investigator. You can request up to $50,000 a year in direct costs, and you don't need preliminary data. And for someone who's never written a grant application, the shorter six-page Research Strategy (versus 12 pages for an R01) might be appealing.

Given all this, you may be tempted to start "small," but you should think twice. The smaller page limit means you need a concise, tightly focused research plan. The short award and the limited budget mean you have little room for course correction. Finally, R03 awards are not renewable.

Go for an R01

Unless your project is perfectly suited for an R03, and if you have sufficient preliminary data, you're likely better off focusing on crafting and submitting a competitive application for an R01. It gives you four or five years of support and enough money (as well as time) to complete a project and publish results.

When applying for their first independent NIH research grant, new and early-stage investigators get some breaks, such as benefitting from a higher R01 payline. To learn more, read Are You "New"?, linked below.

Touch Base With a Program Officer

Our final piece of advice is key: contact one of the program officers below as you start to develop your application. He or she can advise you on whether your proposed project is appropriate for an R03.

The three NIAID Scientific/Research Contacts listed in the Parent R03 funding opportunity announcement are:

Related Links



Header: Reader Questions.

Feel free to send us a question at After responding to you, we may include your question in the newsletter, incorporate it into the NIAID Research Funding site, or both.

"I currently have a K01. Can I apply for a grant from a private source and still maintain my K award?"—Sarai Davis, University of California, Davis

Yes, but your effort on the new grant cannot exceed three person months. The Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) requires a minimum of nine person months, meaning you must devote at least 75 percent of your professional time to the K01 project. Also, you will need NIAID approval if you plan to reduce your current effort level.

As you may know, you cannot receive concurrent salary support from another NIH or other federal agency award until you have only two years remaining on your K award and meet the other criteria listed in the Training & Career Development Awards and our Career Development Grants SOP.

"How can I tell if my application will be reviewed by NIAID or CSR?"—anonymous reader

In the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), the listed peer review contact will indicate whether the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), NIAID, or another institute will conduct the review.

NIAID oversees the initial peer review of applications with Institute-specific requirements: program projects, cooperative agreements, training and career development grants, some program announcements with special receipt, referral, or review criteria (PARs), and most requests for applications (RFAs). For details, see Understand the Review Process

CSR handles investigator-initiated applications for all other award types, as well as some PARs and RFAs. Check the peer review contact in the FOA to be sure.

After you apply, you should follow our advice on how to ensure you get the right assignments Application Assigned to a Review Group.

Header: New Funding Opportunities.

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Content last reviewed on May 5, 2016