Academic Research Enhancement Awards (R15)

June 17, 2009                                                                                   Economic Recovery Discussion Forum

NIH-NIDCR High Priority
The Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) are intended to stimulate research in educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation’s research scientists, but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. The AREA grants will create opportunities for scientists and institutions otherwise unlikely to participate extensively in NIH programs, to contribute to the Nation’s biomedical and behavioral research effort. AREA grants will support small-scale, health-related research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible, domestic institutions.  Applications are due September 24, 2009.  For additional details see:

Small Business Catalyst Awards for Accelerating Innovative Research (R43)

The Small Business Catalyst awards focus on early stage technology development.  Grant applications are invited from small business concerns who propose to accelerate innovation through high risk, high reward research and development (R&D) that has commercial potential and is relevant to NIH’s mission.  In particular, applications from small business concerns without a history of NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) support may receive funding priority.  Rather than focusing on incremental improvements of existing technologies, projects should have the potential to generate high impact results (e.g., products, processes or services) and/or innovative research applications, research tools, techniques, devices, inventions, or methodologies.  

NIH intends to commit at least $5 million for the Small Business Catalyst awards and anticipates that 20-25 awards will be made for FY 2010, pending the number and quality of applications received and availability of funds.  Letters of intent are due August 3, 2009; applications are due September 1, 2009.  For additional details see:   

New Technologies (BRDG-SPAN) Pilot Program (RC3)
Grant applications are invited for a new initiative called Biomedical Research, Development, and Growth to Spur the Acceleration of New Technologies (BRDG-SPAN) Pilot Program (RC3).  The program aims to address the funding gap between promising R&D and the transition to market by contributing to critical funding needed by applicants to pursue the later stage research activities necessary to achieve ultimate commercialization. The goal is to accelerate the transition from research innovations and technologies to the development of products or services that will improve human health, advance NIH’s mission, and create significant value and economic stimulus. The program also aims to foster partnerships among a variety of R&D collaborators working toward these goals.

NIH intends to commit at least $35 million in response to this program and anticipates that at least 10 awards will be made in FY 2010, pending the number and quality of applications received and the availability of funds.  Letters of intent are due August 3, 2009; applications are due September 1, 2009.  For additional details see:       

March 27, 2009                                                                          

NIDCR Guidelines for Administrative Supplements Providing Summer Research Experiences for Students and Science Educators
Today the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the opportunity for investigators and United States institutions/organizations with active NIH Research Grants to request administrative supplements for the purpose of promoting job creation, economic development, and accelerating the pace and achievement of scientific research. These supplements will encourage students to seriously pursue research careers in the health related sciences, as well as provide elementary, middle school, and high school teachers, community college faculty, and faculty from non-research intensive institutions with short term research experiences in NIH-funded laboratories.  Support for these supplements will come from funds provided to NIH through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (�Recovery Act� or �ARRA�), Public Law 111-5.


NIDCR Web Page on Summer Research Program

March 25, 2009                                                                      

1) The NIH announced yesterday an initiative – supported by funds provided to the NIH under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (�Recovery Act� or �ARRA�) – that is designed to provide the necessary resources for U.S. academic institutions/organizations to develop Biomedical Research Core Centers. Core Center Grants are institutional awards that provide support for shared resources for categorical research by investigators from different disciplines who provide a multidisciplinary approach to a joint research effort, or from the same discipline who focus on a common research problem. The Biomedical Research Core Center should complement and expand the breadth of existing institutional/organizational strengths, and should contribute to building a community of interdisciplinary researchers focusing on an area of biomedical research that is relevant to the appropriate NIH Institute/Center. This program will provide funding to develop the resources necessary to conduct relevant research projects, including funds for hiring and providing appropriate start-up packages for newly-independent investigators.

Letters of Intent due: April 18, 2009
Applications due: May 18, 2009

2) Also under the Recovery Act, the NIH has established a new program entitled Research and Research Infrastructure �Grand Opportunities� or the �GO� grants program. This new program will support projects that address large, specific biomedical and bio-behavioral research endeavors that will benefit from significant 2-year funds without the expectation of continued NIH funding beyond two years. The research supported by the �GO� grants program should have high short-term impact, and a high likelihood of enabling growth and investment in biomedical research and development, public health, and health care delivery.

Letters of Intent due: April 27, 2009
Applications due: May 27, 2009

3) The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) “Competitive Revision Applications Enabling Selected Individual Investigator Awards to Leverage NCRR Center and Center-like Programs” has been posted.  This initiative will provide the opportunity for investigators and United States institutions/organizations with active NIH funded investigator-initiated awards to submit competitive revision applications (formerly termed competitive supplements) to leverage the resources, expertise, and infrastructure of the NCRR Centers and Center-like Programs through significant expansion of the scope or research protocol of approved and funded projects. NIDCR is participating in this program.

Application due: April 21, 2009 (up to 2 years of funding) and July 10, 2009 (for 1 year funding)

4) Finally, if you missed the NCRR webcast about the application process for core facilities improvement projects (C06) and construction, renovation and repair improvement projects (G20), a videocast can be viewed here:


March 18, 2009

NIH Announcements regarding Competitive Revisions and Administrative Supplements

NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Competitive Revision Applications
The due date for revision applications is April 21, 2009.

NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Administrative Supplements
Due Date for NIDCR Administrative Supplements is June 1, 2009.

NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Administrative Supplements Providing Summer Research Experiences for Students and Science Educators
(various deadline dates)

March 4, 2009

As part of the Recovery Act, NIH has designated at least $200 million in FYs 2009 – 2010 for a new initiative called the NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research, to fund 200 or more grants, contingent upon the submission of a sufficient number of scientifically meritorious applications. These awards will be funded at $500,000 per year for two years. 
This new program will support research on Challenge Topics which address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that will benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds. Challenge Areas, defined by the NIH, focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. The research in these areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health.
For additional information please see the RFA


February 20, 2009                                                                        

From the Acting NIH Director�

On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the economic stimulus, into law. This is an extraordinarily challenging time for our entire country, and NIH is extremely grateful to President Obama and Congress for recognizing both the economic and health impacts of biomedical and behavioral research. The $10.4 billion of investment will have an impact beyond the funding horizon of this Act, as it also supports the economic stimulus.

We are well positioned to fund the best science in pursuit of improving the length and the quality of the lives of our citizens, while at the same time stimulating the economy of the 50 states and territories, through more than 3,000 institutions we currently fund to conduct outstanding biomedical and behavioral research– institutions that have a direct impact upon the local economies in their towns, cities, and states.

The purpose of the ARRA is to:

  1. preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery.
  2. assist those most impacted by the recession.
  3. provide investments to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health.
  4. invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
  5. stabilize state and local government budgets, in order to minimize and avoid reductions in essential services and counterproductive state and local tax increases.

As we learned about NIH�s possible inclusion in the national economic recovery effort, we worked around the clock to prepare to make the most effective use of these extraordinary resources. NIH grants support jobs and the economy of local communities, and we are preparing to move the funds quickly as we manage and track the impact on economic recovery, as well as the progress on improving human health in a way that increases transparency for the public.  We are waiting for guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House, and no funding decisions have been made. 

NIH Funding

The stimulus bill provides a total of $10.4 billion, all available for two years–through September 2010.  We expect to spend as much as possible in FY 2009 to support the goals of the ARRA and advance scientific priorities. (Note that none of these resources are added to the NIH�s future base funding level). Below is a summary:

  • $8.2 billion in support of scientific research priorities
    • $7.4 billion is transferred to the Institutes and Centers and Common Fund (CF), based on a percentage-based formula
    • $800 million to the Office of the Director (OD) (not including CF)
      (For example, support for Challenge Grants), a program designed to focus on health and science problems where progress can be expected in two years.
    • To support additional scientific research-related activities that also align with the overall purposes of the Act
  • $1 billion to support Extramural Construction, Repairs, and Alterations
    • Allocated to the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) in support of all NIH funded research institutions
  • $300 million for Shared Instrumentation and other capital equipment
    • Allocated to NCRR to support all NIH activities
  • $500 million for NIH buildings and facilities
    • To fund high priority repair, construction and improvement projects on NIH campuses that also align with the overall purpose of the Act
  • $400 million for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) 

Many types of funding mechanisms will be supported, but, in general, NIH will focus scientific activities in several areas:

1) We will choose among recently peer reviewed, highly meritorious R01 and similar mechanisms capable of making significant advances in two years. R01 are projects proposed directly from scientists across the country. 
2) We will also fund new R01 applications that have a reasonable expectation of making progress in two years.  The adherence to this time frame is in direct response to the spirit of the law. 
3) We will accelerate the tempo of ongoing science through targeted supplements to current grants. For example, we may competitively expand the scope of current research awards or supplement an existing award with additional support for infrastructure (e.g., equipment) that will be used in the two-year availability of these funds. 
4) NIH anticipates supporting new types of activities that fit into the structure of the ARRA. For example, it will support a reasonable number of awards to jump start the new NIH Challenge Grant program. This program is designed to focus on health and science problems where progress can be expected in two years. The number of awards and amount of funds will be determined, based on the scientific merit and the quality of applications. I anticipate�out of the OD funds in the ARRA–NIH will support at least $100 to $200 million�but the science will drive the actual level. 
5)  We will also use other funding mechanisms as appropriate. 

The impact of this stimulus to scientists cannot be overstated. The impact extends far beyond the current economic challenges and immediate scientists who will receive funds, to allied health workers, technicians, students, trade workers and others who will receive the leveraged benefits.     

We understand to accomplish the goals of ARRA, it will take the help of the entire scientific community. Beyond the immediate economic stimulus, the long-term impact from the science funded by the ARRA will have a positive impact upon the health of the nation for years to come. 

The ARRA is complex, with multi-layered reporting requirements.  NIH is working with the Administration to ensure transparency and accountability. In the near future, NIH will post information about its role in the recovery and impact on 

We are committed, with the outstanding support that has been given by the White House, the Department, and Congress, to make our decisions based on best scientific opportunity and public need. We will seek projects with the broadest impact, work that can be accomplished in two years, that relies heavily on our new streamlined, modernized peer review system.  This is not a time for business as usual nor formulaic solutions; this is a time for true innovation, energy, and recovery. 

Again, NIH is grateful to all of you who will work with us to successfully implement this important contribution to our national health and economic recovery. 

I invite you to share any comments you have with me, directly, at [email protected].

Raynard S. Kington, M.D.,  Acting Director, National Institutes of Health

For information about NIH programs, useful health information, and additional resources, see the NIH web site at An archive of the Director’s Newsletter is available at



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