Partnerships Program for Translational Research

In 2002, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiated development of strategic plans for biodefense research. As a component of these plans, NIAID was assigned responsibility for research and development (R&D) of candidate products against NIAID Category A, B, or C priority pathogens. NIAID initiated the Partnerships program to support research, development, and eventual commercialization of candidate products to address potential biological pathogen threats. The program has also been used to address high priority emerging diseases, such as SARS and avian influenza.

The Partnerships program has uniquely fostered many new research collaborations between experts from different disciplines of academia and industry to address a substantial and immediate public health threat. This concerted effort has significantly accelerated preclinical development of numerous new or improved countermeasures against many Category A, B, or C agents. Continued support of this program will provide for advanced development of newly validated candidate products.

Under this program, NIAID has supported more than 500 awards for the development of therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics. A number of candidate products developed through this program have advanced sufficiently to have gained U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contract support for further development, including multiple anthrax countermeasures (vaccines, anti-toxin monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal antibodies); a novel influenza therapeutic; an immunostimulatory patch; a cell culture-derived Influenza vaccine; a topical microbicide; and several diagnostic devices.

Funding Methods

Two funding methods are used for Partnerships program opportunities:

  1. R21/R33: The R21/R33 NIH Phased Innovation Award enables higher risk and innovation for discovery and early stage translational research. There are two phases to this award. The R21 mechanism for milestone-driven exploratory or feasibility studies and the R33 phase for expanded development. Approximately half of the R21 grants will transition to the R33 phase. For additional information about DMID Partnerships R21/R33 Phased Innovation Awards, see Frequently Asked Questions about DMID Partnerships Program Funding Opportunities Announcements.
  2. R01: The Milestone-driven Research Project Grant (R01) provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH. An R01 award provides up to five years of project support. Applications from academic organizations must include substantive industry participation and investment. Applications for projects that would significantly advance a candidate diagnostic product/platform toward clinical utility are encouraged.

Recent Partnerships RFAs

FY 2021

  • RFA-AI-20-003, Partnerships for Development of Broadly Protective Universal Influenza Vaccines (R21/R33)
  • RFA-AI-20-028, Partnerships for Countermeasures Against Select Pathogens (R01) 

FY 2019

  • RFA-AI-17-036, Repurposing Target-Based Pharmaceutical Libraries for Discovery of Therapeutics against Eukaryotic Pathogens (R21/R33)
  • RFA-AI-17-026, Partnerships for Countermeasures Against Select Pathogens (R01)
    • NOT-AI-17-041, Notice to Clarify Reference to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Report in RFA-AI-17-026 "Partnerships for Countermeasures Against Select Pathogens (R01)"

FY 2018

  • RFA-AI-16-079, Partnerships for Development of Vaccines to Prevent Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection and/or Tuberculosis Disease (R01)
  • RFA-AI-16-081, Partnerships for the Development of Tools To Advance Therapeutic Discovery for Select Antimicrobial-Resistant Gram-Negative Bacteria (R01)
  • RFA-AI-17-014, Partnerships for Development of Clinically Useful Diagnostics for Antimicrobial- Resistant Bacteria (R01)
  • RFA-AI-17-017, Partnerships for the Development of Vaccines and Immunoprophylactics Targeting Mulitple Antimicrobial-Resistant Bacteria (R01)
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