Address Neglected Tropical Diseases Through Global Research Collaborations

Funding News Edition: April 07, 2021
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NIAID seeks collaborative, global research focused on the etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and control of select neglected tropical diseases (NTD) through a pair of new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs):

NTDs can be transmitted by a variety of vectors and intermediate hosts, such as mosquitoes, tsetse flies, triatomine insects, and snails as well as by contaminated water, food, and soil in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In response to inadequate medical and public health measures, NIAID will also support efforts to strengthen local research capacity and infrastructure in endemic areas through the Tropical Medicine Research Center (TMRC) program.

Research Areas of Interest for TMRC Program

The TMRC program supports research focused on a single pathogen or multiple pathogens as well as multidisciplinary research on NTD-causing pathogens. Below are some research activities of interest; read RFA-AI-21-004 linked above for the full list of research interests.

  • Studying biomarkers
  • Developing or evaluating diagnostics
  • Studying co-infections (excluding HIV)

The TMRC program requires clinical and field site development as well as access to endemic populations. Projects must include one of the following: human subjects, vectors, or specimen collections from endemic area field sites.

Nonresponsive Areas of Interest

NIAID will consider applications in the following areas to be nonresponsive and not review them:

  • Research on NTDs that does not require access to human subjects or specimens from disease-endemic sites in low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income economy countries as classified by the World Bank
  • Research that does not focus on the following pathogens, except in the context of co-infections or non-NTD outcomes as a result of anti-NTD interventions: schistosomiasis, hookworm infection, ascariasis, trachoma, onchocerciasis, dracunculiasis, Buruli ulcer, echinococcosis, taeniasis and cysticercosis, foodborne trematodiases, mycetoma, chromoblastomycosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, sporotrichosis, and talaromycosis
  • Research that is not focused on genomics, epidemiology, diagnostics, transmission, immunology, or pathogenesis
  • Research on Select Agents
  • Research on HIV/SIV
  • Clinical trials

The TMRC Coordinating Center

NIAID is also requesting applications for a TMRC Coordinating Center (CC), which will oversee and coordinate efforts across the TMRCs related to data management, data and specimen sharing, collaboration in creating and managing a virtual sample repository, as well as the following responsibilities:

  • Serve as the central point of contact for the TMRC program when communicating with NIH, other U.S. government entities, and other stakeholders
  • Facilitate communication and data sharing with external NTD databases and portals
  • Convene a Scientific Advisory Group comprising external experts not affiliated with the TMRCs to provide scientific oversight and guidance
  • Establish and manage an electronic cloud-based “virtual specimen repository” from the TMRCs that will be available to the public

Read RFA-AI-21-005 linked above for the full list of functions.

Application Information

Foreign institutions may apply and foreign components are allowed, as stated in Section III. Eligibility Information of the respective FOAs.

Application budgets for TMRCs should not exceed $500,000 in annual direct costs. We recommend that at least 65 percent of the annual direct costs should be committed for field work and related research activities at the endemic sites.

The budget limit for TMRC CC applications is $500,000 in annual direct costs, including $200,000 for an Opportunity Fund beginning in the second year. We will fund only one award.

For both FOAs, the scope of the proposed project should determine the project period, the maximum being five years.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization on June 18, 2021.

Contact Information

Submit any program-related inquiries to Dr. Malla Rao, NIAID’s scientific contact.

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