(CLOSED) NIH PAR 20-103 Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams (RM1) (Clinical Trial Optional) Jan. 2021

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Many research questions in biomedical science can be pursued by single investigators and their close collaborators, and are adequately supported by individual and multiple PD/PI research grants. However, the scope of some scientific problems is beyond the capabilities of a small group of investigators. Such complex and challenging research questions benefit from the integrated efforts of teams of research laboratories employing complementary approaches and having multiple areas of intellectual and technical expertise, and the necessary resources to accomplish a unified scientific goal. Such team-based efforts can produce convergent, lasting scientific benefits with high impact, such as the creation of new disciplines of study, resolution of long standing or intractable problems, or definition of new areas that challenge current paradigms.

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages Collaborative Program Grant applications from institutions/organizations that propose to conduct research to address complex and challenging biomedical problems, important for the mission of NIGMS, through deeply integrated, multidisciplinary research teams. The Collaborative Program Grant is designed to support research in which funding a team of interdependent investigators offers significant advantages over support of individual research project grants. Applications should address critical issues and be sufficiently challenging, ambitious, and innovative that objectives could not be achieved by individual investigators.


Recent reports (e.g., enhancing the effectiveness of team science) have evaluated the benefits of a team science approach to scientific inquiry, and the need to create flexible funding opportunities that enable interdisciplinary research teams to accomplish goals that could not be achieved individually. The Collaborative Program Grant draws on our past experience and is designed to improve support for interdisciplinary collaborative research across different scientific domains. We also anticipate that these grants will enhance the diversity and interdisciplinarity of participating investigators, and provide opportunities to encourage early stage investigators (ESIs) to engage in team science projects. For information on NIGMS' interest in enhancing diversity of the scientific workforce and support of Early Stage Investigators, see NIGMS Strategic Plan.

Scope of Research

Successful Collaborative Program Grant applications will bring together scientists to apply complementary approaches to work on an important and well-defined problem. Applications may address any area of science within the NIGMS mission, which is to support basic research that increases understanding of biological processes at a range of levels, from molecules and cells, to tissues, whole organisms, and populations. NIGMS also supports research in a limited number of clinical areas that affect multiple organ systems. Truly new interdisciplinary ideas for approaching significant biological problems are encouraged. Applications that bridge the research interests of more than one NIGMS division are also encouraged, but must remain within the scope of the NIGMS mission. Research with the overall goal to gain knowledge about a specific organ or organ system, or the pathophysiology, treatment, or cure of a specific disease or condition will, in most cases, be more appropriate for another Institute or Center. Consultation with NIGMS staff (see below) prior to preparing an application is strongly encouraged.

Applications for smaller projects with one or two PD/PIs should consider submitting a multi-PD/PI application to the "NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01)" FOA (see the Parent Announcement website for the current issuance of this FOA). Applications that are mainly focused on the creation, expansion, and/or maintenance of community resources, or on infrastructure development, are not appropriate for this FOA. Although Collaborative Program Grants may include some technology development, applications with a central focus on the creation of new technologies would not be considered for funding as a Collaborative Program Grant and are more appropriate for other NIGMS mechanisms for funding technology research and resources.

Applications that employ specific cells or tissues to address a fundamental biomedical question are appropriate. However, applications that focus solely on a specific organ or disease state and that are within the mission areas of other NIH Institutes and Centers would not be appropriate for this FOA.

Research involving human subjects is permitted in the Collaborative Program Grant. Clinical research must be completely within the context of the NIGMS clinical areas (anesthesiology, clinical pharmacology, sepsis, injury, and critical illness). Mechanistic clinical trials are permitted when the mechanistic study is an essential part of the research program. Clinical trials that are designed to test safety and efficacy of interventions (Phase I, Phase II, Phase III) for the purpose of future clinical treatment and/or regulatory approval are not permitted . Potential applicants are encouraged to confer with the NIGMS Scientific/Research staff (in Section VII. Agency Contacts of this FOA) before submitting an application that includes clinical research. NIGMS does not intend to fund applications that contain clinical research within the missions of other Institutes and Centers at NIH or other federal agencies.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor LOI Deadline: 
Dec 27, 2020
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jan 27, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should upload the following document in a PDF file (File name: Last name_NIH 20-103_2021_NOI no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

Formatting Guidelines:
Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

If Interest exceeds the institutional limits, faculty that have submitted their notice of intent will be notified to prepare a two-page project description and NIH biosketches of PI/CoPIs for internal downselect.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
Penn State OVPR NOI Deadline: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 4:00pm
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
Keith Cheng (CoM)