Request for Information (RFI): Defining an Agenda to Address Research Capacity Building

Notice Number: NOT-HD-11-006

Key Dates
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Response Date:  June 21, 2011

Issued by
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


NICHD seeks input from the broader scientific community regarding models and best practices in the development of sustainable research capacity at non-research intensive institutions of higher education with the long term goal of conducting health disparities research that will address the mission of NICHD:  “To ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives, free from disease or disability, and to ensure the health, productivity, independence, and well-being of all people through optimal rehabilitation”. 


The Division of Special Populations (DSP) of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently completed a review of programs and initiatives that address building and sustaining research capacity. The Division of Special Populations was created to strengthen the NICHD’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of children, adults, families, and communities by addressing and eliminating health disparities through the participation of diverse populations in biomedical and behavioral research within the United States and abroad. The DSP program review was followed by a consultative meeting with representatives from the scientific community.  The goal of the meeting was to identify models of building sustainable research programs at non-research intensive institutions. These institutions can serve as a resource for addressing health disparities within their local communities and/or geographic regions. 

During the meeting the workgroup encouraged NICHD’s DSP to:

  1. Identify and document best practices in developing research infrastructure and capacity in non-research intensive institutions.
  2. Address challenges that faculty members face in participating in research, such as heavy teaching loads and lack of authority to identify and compete for federal research funding.
  3. Maintain successful components of current initiatives (e.g. Extramural Associates Program) that address strengthening offices of sponsored programs.
  4. Consider the changing demographics in the U.S, and the need to address groups that have not been recipients of research resources to develop infrastructure and capacity.
  5. Include Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) as a theme to address sustainable research and training programs.

Information Requested

NICHD is inviting the broader scientific community, scientific organizations and other interested parties to  address workgroup recommendations by outlining challenges and potential solutions to building and sustaining research capacity at non-research intensive institutions of higher education.

Challenges--Describe the challenges in establishing sustainable research programs. Some examples of challenges that may be addressed include, but are not limited to:  

  1. Creating a culture in which original research and facilitating research literacy are valued activities.
  2. Innovations in creating adequate time for conducting original research.
  3. Implementing a research agenda that supports the mission of the institution as well as reflects the national research agenda.
  4. Innovative approaches to creating a critical mass of independent biomedical and bio-behavioral researchers at non-research intensive institutions.
  5. Encouraging interdisciplinary research across departments.
  6. Motivating undergraduate and/or graduate students to become involved in research.
  7. Approaches to enhance research infrastructure and capacity at institutions.

Solutions-- Describe innovative capacity building approaches to address these as well as any other challenges listed.


Responses will be accepted until June 21, 2011 via email to NICHD’s DSP email address:  Please mark your responses with this RFI identifier, NOT-HD-11-006. For each response, please provide (1) brief background information, (2) define the challenge, and (3) describe the potential solution. Responses are expected to be 500 words or less for each challenge/solution.

This Request for Information (RFI) is for planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the United States (U.S.) Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it.  Please note that the U.S. Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information.

This Notice is a reissue of NOT-HD-10-016. Those individuals and/or institutions which responded to the earlier notice may provide additional responses.


Regina Smith James, M.D.
Director, Division of Special Populations (DSP)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5E03, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
(Rockville, Maryland 20852 for non USPS/courier service)
Telephone: 301-435-2692
Fax: 301-480-0393

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