How To Work With the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF‑Frederick) provides unique expertise and capabilities to address scientific questions. The IRF‑Frederick has an established yet adaptable process that sets the research agenda through the identification and review of collaboration projects that fit the IRF-Frederick mission. (For more about the mission, go to Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick).

The IRF-Frederick facilitates high-quality research by managing and conducting studies that use the unique capabilities of the facility. The IRF-Frederick provides flexibility and access to resources, giving collaborators a unique opportunity to choose how much support they need from the IRF-Frederick and, conversely, how much they will contribute to the studies. The relationship between the IRF-Frederick and each collaborating organization is based on the scope, relevance, and unique attributes of the research.

Portfolio Development Process

Portfolio development begins with a concept, fostered by communication among scientists at the IRF‑Frederick and investigators from NIH, other government organizations, academia, or industry. A collaborative research proposal is developed and submitted based on the following two categories:

  • Research projects with extramural collaborators that have approved NIH-funded grants—Proposals for research within this category go directly to the IRF-Frederick for evaluation (including requests for letters of support) and, if approved, do not need further review.
  • All other research projects—Proposals for research within this category require review by both a review committee within the IRF‑Frederick and the extramural NIH Scientific Steering Committee, which ensures fair and equitable allocation of IRF-Frederick resources. The committees make recommendations based on mission relevance and scientific value.

Once a proposal is approved, a study plan is developed. The IRF-Frederick commences with prioritization, resource allocation, and operational planning.

The IRF-Frederick is a national resource and, as such, does not charge collaborators for use of the facility. However, costs for purchase of animals and specialty reagents will be covered by the collaborators.

Tools for Getting Started

The point of contact listed in each of the IRF-Frederick resources can help you on the correct path forward to make a request. This could involve one or more of the following (or another type of collaborative artifact):

  • Collaborative research proposal
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU)
  • Interagency agreement
  • Research collaborative agreement
  • Material transfer agreement
  • Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)

Resources for Researchers

The IRF-Frederick has the following capabilities and collaborative research support opportunities available to internal (NIAID) and extramural researchers. Contact information is included, so researchers can reach out to someone to guide them through the process.

Perform a keyword search of opportunities offered by the IRF-Frederick.


Flow chart of the portfolio development process

The IRF-Frederick has an established process that identifies and reviews suitable projects, which sets the research agenda.


The IRF-Frederick has an established process that identifies and reviews suitable projects, which sets the research agenda.


The image above visually describes the portfolio process development process at the IRF-Frederick.

  1. Concepts are incubated through discussion between IRF-Frederick scientists and subject matter experts, NIH intramural investigators, or extramural investigators.
  2. Ideas are narrowed to potential areas of research.
  3. Potential collaborators are identified and may be one of the following (subject to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), NIH grant or contract (e.g. ROI, U19), Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA), and Interagency Agreement (IAA)):
    • NIH intramural researchers
    • Other United States government organizations
    • Industry
    • Academia
    • Non-profits
    • International partners
  4. Appropriate IRF-Frederick scientists are contacted to discuss potential collaboration.
  5. A collaborative proposal is developed.
  6. The proposal is reviewed at the IRF-Frederick.
  7. The proposal is reviewed and approved by the Scientific Steering Committee (not required if funded by NIH).
  8. A study plan is developed and implemented at the IRF-Frederick.
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