NIAID Funding News November 18, 2015

Feature Articles

Opportunities and Resources

In The News

Advice Corner

New Funding Opportunities

Header: Feature Articles. 

Postdocs' Guide to Gaining Independence: Laying the Groundwork

Read this article in its new location, Postdocs' Guide to Gaining Independence: Laying the Groundwork.

Header: Opportunities and Resources. 

Establish a Center to Study Malaria in Endemic Countries

Apply for funds to establish an International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) to conduct research in countries where malaria is endemic.

The Centers will support laboratory, clinical, and field studies to expand knowledge and create tools to design and evaluate new interventions and control strategies. Your project design should use observations and samples from at least three field sites and employ translational and/or basic science.

This opportunity funds awards through the U19 cooperative agreement activity code. Your multiproject application must include the following:

  • Overall: How cores and projects fit together to address a central theme
  • Research component with three or more research projects:
    • One multisite project in epidemiology
    • Two or more projects in transmission and/or pathogenesis and diagnosis
  • Administrative Core
  • Data Management or Biostatistics Core

You may also include optional Shared Resources cores; each core should support at least two research projects.

For the research projects mentioned above, check the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for an extensive list of research activity examples that we would consider responsive. There's also a list of what would be considered nonresponsive.

Remember these requirements as you plan your application:

  • Each Center must host a workshop once within the project period.
  • The application must have an overarching scientific theme. Routine malaria surveillance, health systems outreach, and operations research are not considered acceptable scientific themes.
  • At least 50 percent of the annual direct costs must be committed to field work and related activities at the endemic sites.
  • PIs and project leaders must spend at least 90 days each year onsite at the malaria endemic sites where the ICEMR is being implemented. This also applies to foreign PIs who are not located at the endemic sites within the country.

NIAID expects to award $13.5 million in FY 2017 to fund 8 to 10 awards for this FOA.

Your optional letter of intent is due by March 15, 2016. Send the letter to Dr. Lianyong (Yong) Gao.

The application due date is April 15, 2016. To discuss your application idea or if you have scientific questions about the opportunity, contact Dr. Malla Rao, the program officer for this FOA.

See the October 29, 2015 Guide announcement for full details. Read the Questions and Answers for RFA-AI-15-056, International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (U19) for more guidance.

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B Cell Immunology Program: One FOA Gone, Another to Consider

Investigators planning to apply for the B Cell Help Immunology Program (BCHIP) for AIDS Vaccine Strategies funding opportunity announcement (FOA) should note that NIAID terminated this FOA as announced in the October 23, 2015 Guide notice. If you are still interested in BCHIP, consider the following alternative FOA.

To harness emerging research findings about B cell immunology to develop theoretical vaccines against HIV-1, the new B Cell Immunology Program (BCIP) for HIV-1 Vaccine Development FOA seeks applications focused on informing and exploring novel immunization strategies for generating B cell functions that will be valuable in developing an effective HIV-1 vaccine.

This FOA supports basic and preclinical research, including the analysis of clinical samples to identify and evaluate the parameters critical for programming B cells with the objective of defining biological mechanisms of protective immunity against HIV-1. Studies that compare the response to HIV-1 to the response of another infectious agent might also provide important insights into HIV-1 biology and have a critical impact on HIV-1 vaccine development.

Multidisciplinary teams with expertise in both B cell biology and HIV-1 are encouraged to propose hypothesis-driven research to exploit the complexity of B cells—at vaccine priming and response recall—associated with the induction of potent and durable adaptive immune responses.

Priority activities include the following examples:

  • Explore approaches to direct B cell fate for generating long-term memory and persistent antibody production.
  • Design studies that benchmark the response to HIV-1 immunogens against the response to other infectious agents (such as HBV and HPV) or model systems.
  • Design studies to harness the role of B cells beyond their functions as antibody-secreting cells, in the context of HIV-1 responses.

Research topics for which applications will be deemed nonresponsive and ineligible for further consideration include:

  • Human clinical trials
  • Early B cell development in newborns
  • Drug, microbicide, or therapeutic vaccine development
  • Product development

See the FOA for additional nonresponsive topics.

Application Submission

Application budgets for this R01 opportunity are not limited but should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The maximum project period is five years.

Send optional letters of intent by February 17, 2016. Applications are due March 17, 2016. We recommend that you contact a program officer in advance of your application submission to discuss the appropriateness of your proposed project's scope.

For complete details, read the October 21, 2015 Guide announcement. Forward questions to Dr. Angela Malaspina, the scientific/research contact for the FOA.

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Supplements Available for the New I-Corps at NIH Program

NIH invites applications for its Innovation Corps™ (I-Corps) Program. Partnering with CDC, NIH will fund administrative supplement awards to currently funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grantees.

I-Corpsat NIH will provide scientists and business leaders from SBIR- and STTR-funded companies with hands-on entrepreneurship training, facilitated by subject matter experts from the biotech sector. The program aims to develop and nurture an innovation ecosystem that builds upon biomedical research to develop technologies, products, and services that benefit society.

I-Corpsat NIH will ultimately teach researchers and technologists how to translate technologies from the lab into the marketplace by 1) fostering the development of early-stage biomedical technologies and 2) teaching researchers how to gain a clearer understanding of the value of their inventions in the marketplace.

Application Criteria

Applicants must assemble three-member teams to complete the activities and assignments required by the training program. Team designations should consist of a C-level corporate officer, an industry sector expert, and a program director/principal investigator.

Application budgets are limited to no more than $40,000 in direct costs and must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The awarded budget should be used to cover only travel and costs associated with participating in the I-Corpsat NIH Program. Additionally, the funding instrument used for this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will be the same as the parent award.

Application Deadlines

This FOA has two due dates, the first of which is December 10, 2015. We strongly recommend that you speak with the program officer for your Phase I award in the planning stages of your application and apply early to allow time to correct any application errors found during the submission process.

For complete details, read the October 29, 2015 Guide announcement. Direct questions to Dr. Natalia Kruchinin in NIAID’s Office of Research Training and Special Programs.

More About I-Corps at NIH

For additional information about I-Corps curriculum, eligibility, benefits, and how to apply, see I-Corps at NIH.

Header: Other News. 

ORIP Announces HIV/AIDS Vaccine Scholars Program

NIH's Office of Research Infrastructure Programs issued a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that will use the Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01) activity code to provide up to three years of salary and research support to investigators who are within 10 years of completing their degree or residency training.

Research and mentorship must be in the field of HIV/AIDS vaccine development, using nonhuman primates (NHPs) as preclinical models. The FOA places a special emphasis on training in developing NHP vaccine models and translating the results of investigations performed in NHPs to work in humans.

Note that NIAID is not a participating organization, but don't let that stop you if you're interested in this opportunity. For complete details, including contact information, read the November 2, 2015 Guide announcement.

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News Briefs

NIAID Heads to Scandinavia for Grants Policy Training Workshop. 

Investigators, business officials, and others involved in grant administration are invited to attend an NIAID training workshop in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 22, 2016. This event is co-organized with the Karolinska Institutet Grants Office, Swedish Research Council, and Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance. For more information, check out the NIAID Grants Day Workshop Agenda and Registration pages.

NIH Deputy Director of Extramural Research to Continue Blogging. 

Following a change in leadership, the popular Rock Talk blog will continue under a new name: Open Mike. New Deputy Director of Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer's recent entries include Lab Size and Strategic Support of Science: Thoughts on Finding the Right Mix and Bolstering Trust in Science Through Rigorous Standards.

Implementing the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System. 

Beginning January 1, 2016, NIH will implement requirements for the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), following the guidance provided in Federal Register Volume 80, Number 140. NIH will provide more information in the coming months. See theNovember 4, 2015 Guide notice to learn more.

Header: Advice Corner. 

In Your Renewal Application, Always Highlight Progress

Make sure your competing renewal application describes your progress and accomplishments made during the last funding cycle. We've found that some applicants don't seem to realize how important it is to emphasize their productivity from the previous award.

It is problematic for reviewers when this information is missing or inadequately addressed in the renewal application since progress is a criterion for the overall impact score.

Even if you didn't do everything you originally proposed, use your renewal application's Research Plan as your opportunity to show that you successfully conducted relevant research, got results, and then used those results to pursue the next set of experiments.

Use as much space as necessary in your Research Strategy to describe your accomplishments. How you approach this description is up to you. For example, you might describe your progress in a single section, break up your accomplishments to place them in context with your new aims, or take some other approach. Just be sure your description is clear for reviewers and follows the SF 424 instructions.

If you're working on a multiproject renewal application, we suggest covering progress in the application’s overall section as well as in the application sections for the individual projects and cores that are included in the renewal.

Be sure to list your publications, patents, and other printed materials from your last funding cycle. The good news is that this list won't fall under your Research Strategy page limit. Instead, this information goes in a separate attachment, the Progress Report Publication List.

For more guidance and advice on progress reporting in the context of a renewal, read Apply for a Renewal in ourStrategy for NIH Funding.

Header: Reader Questions. 

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

“Can an investigator with appointments at two distinct institutions be the PI for an award at one and oversee a subaward (from the same grant) at the other?”—anonymous reader

Yes, so long as the institutions and the investigator are eligible within their respective capacities.

Know that those involved with peer, programmatic, and administrative review of applications will be watching closely for overlap (budgetary, effort, or scientific) for that scientist and all or any portion of the proposed research.

For example, the grantee institution must perform a substantive role in the conduct of the research rather than merely serving as a conduit of funds.

In a situation like this, we suggest contacting a program officer or grants management specialist directly. See Contacting Program Officers and Grants Management Specialists.

“The collaborator on my R01 application is in the U.K. Do I need to check off the 'foreign involvement' box (#6) on the application in Section 4.4 Other Project Information? Do I need to upload any attachments?”—anonymous reader

Yes, for an R01 grant application, working with a U.K. collaborator would be considered foreign involvement; therefore, you would need to check the box for question #6.

Further, you must check “Yes” any time the applicant organization is a foreign institution or if the project includes a foreign component. See the definition of foreign component listed in the NIH Grants Policy Statement Definition of Terms.

Indicate whether your agreement with the collaborator is for him or her to participate as an unpaid foreign collaborator, or if it is a foreign consortium agreement with a foreign institution (subaward), which allows him or her to participate.

Upload any relevant documents and provide justification, including an explanation of why the work cannot be completed by a U.S. collaborator.

Header: New Funding Opportunities. 

See other announcements at NIAID Funding Opportunities List.

Content last reviewed on January 26, 2016