(CLOSED) NIH PAR 20-103 Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams (RM1) (Clinical Trial Optional) Jan. 2022

Sponsor Name: 
NIH
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.

Background

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.

Program Organization

Applications submitted to this FOA are expected to propose a single, well-integrated research plan of sufficient scope, complexity, and impact to justify the investment of significant resources. Applicants are expected to describe a cohesive program with a single set of specific aims sufficient to accomplish program objectives that can be achieved within a maximum of ten years (one five-year program with one competitive five-year renewal). Program objectives that are unlikely to be achieved within ten years are not appropriate for this FOA.

Applications should be sufficiently challenging, ambitious, and innovative that the proposed research cannot be achieved by a single investigator or small group of investigators. Therefore, a multiple PD/PI application is required and applications must include a minimum of three and a maximum of six PD/PIs who are all necessary to provide sufficient research capacity and the relevant expertise to address the proposed scientific problem. Applications that propose extrapolations of a single line of research or propose parallel but independent advancement of different areas are not appropriate for this FOA.

Applicant teams should be sufficiently nimble to provide new knowledge and techniques mid-stream that might be required to tackle unsolved challenges and achieve program objectives. Therefore, proposed approaches can be complemented by adding new pilot studies led by ESIs in future years as the program develops.

Team Management and Optional Activities

Studies of team science have highlighted the need for effective management structures to achieve program goals. These structures grow in importance as the team size increases. Many resources exist to aid in developing effective team-based programs (see e.g., the NCI Team Science Toolkit). In addition to the required multiple PD/PI leadership plan, applications are expected to develop a comprehensive team management plan that addresses the following points:

  • Appropriate organizational structure and team composition
  • Shared leadership, contributions and distributed responsibility for decision making
  • Resource allocation
  • Plans for professional development
  • Conflict resolution

If teams include individuals from widely divergent scientific backgrounds, applicants may wish to address how they will develop trust and a shared vision, as well as how shared responsibilities, interpersonal interactions and professional credit will be managed. Additionally, applicants may want to consider a scientific project manager or program coordinator as part of the management plan.

Collaborative Program Grant applications may propose optional activities to support ESIs through a program of exploratory pilot study projects. If applicable, the exploratory pilots must start after the first year of the award and propose new approaches that are within the original scope of the grant. For an NIH definition of ESI please refer to the New Investigator Policy. If the application includes pilot studies directed by ESIs, plans must be included for selecting the projects and for leveraging existing resources for appropriate mentoring, including the effective conduct of multidisciplinary team science, as described in Part 2. Section IV.2. An expectation for any successful pilot projects program would be that it would lead to funding independence for the participating ESIs. This will be a criterion in a subsequent Renewal application to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program in meeting this goal. Note that pilot studies are an optional activity, are not required, and, if requested, must be extremely well justified.

Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jan 27, 2022
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should upload the following document in a PDF file (File name: Last name_NIH 20-103_2022_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 OSVPR NOI Deadline: 
Monday, October 4, 2021 - 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:
For help or questions: 

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.