Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for a H3Africa Bioinformatics Network

Notice Number: NOT-RM-11-014

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: April 29, 2011

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Common Fund (Roadmap)


The NIH Common Fund, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, is currently planning a new initiative termed Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) that will be designed to facilitate a contemporary research approach to the study of the genomic and environmental determinants of common diseases in Africa, with the goal of improving the health of African populations. To accomplish this, the planners of the H3Africa Initiative are considering ways to enhance the necessary genomic expertise among African scientists, and to establish networks of African investigators. It is expected that studies performed in the H3Africa Initiative will inform subsequent strategies to address more broadly health inequities in both communicable and non-communicable diseases eventually leading to health benefits in Africa.  More information about the H3Africa initiative and a white paper with recommendations for the program can be found at

The white paper recommendations for the H3Africa initiative include the development of improved scientific infrastructure, specifically establishing one or more biorepositories in Africa, establishing a bioinformatics network, and training of African scientists in genomic research methodologies.  The recommendations also include support for infrastructure provided in the context of specific genetic/genomic research activities.  Finally, a key recommendation is that H3Africa awards be made directly to African institutions. 

A bioinformatics network could serve the goals of H3Africa by providing effective connectivity among the H3Africa awardees; by providing, through workshops and other approaches, training in and capacity for utilization of bioinformatics tools for analysis in African genomic research projects; and by developing computational tools that are designed to address the needs of African genomic research projects.   The white paper envisions that an effective way to build capacity in Africa to identify the genomic-environmental contributors to disease is through collaborative projects, each of which would involve multiple institutions.  It is expected that each such collaboration would have the capability of meeting its own bioinformatics needs for data management, initial data analysis, data transfer and collaboration.  A bioinformatics network could then perform at a higher level by connecting all of the relevant grantees, and potentially other bioinformatics nodes, to provide the training, tools and workshops described above.  Because H3Africa expects to support capacity building across Africa, it will be desirable for the key personnel of the bioinformatics network to include investigators from more than one of the major geographical regions of Africa. 

This is a Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for a H3Africa Bioinformatics Network but before an FOA can be developed, the NIH needs more information about existing African bioinformatics infrastructure and expertise.  This Notice therefore also seeks information regarding groups that have the bioinformatics expertise, some infrastructure and interest in organizing an African bioinformatics network that could connect the other infrastructure and/or research activities of H3Africa if and when they are funded.  The earliest date at which H3Africa awards could be made is September, 2012.

Information Requested

We seek to identify investigators and organizations with expertise and interest in organizing a bioinformatics network that could work with H3Africa grantees throughout the African continent. 

Please E-mail your responses to within a month of the release date given above to:

Jane Peterson, Ph.D.  (

In your response please provide the following information (and include the Notice number NOT-RM-11-014  in the subject line):

This Notice is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation, an obligation, or endorsement on the part of NHGRI or the NIH Common Fund.  Acknowledgement of receipt of responses may not be made, nor will respondents be notified of the NHGRI evaluation of the information received.  No basis for claims against the NIH shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the NIH's use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement.  Any proprietary information should be so marked.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Jane Peterson, PhD
Associate Director, Division of Extramural Programs, NHGRI, NIH
301-496-7531 or

5635 Fishers Lane Suite 4076, MSC 9305
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9305
Phone: 301-496-7531
Fax: 301-480-2770

FedEx/UPS/Other Courier Delivery Address:
5635 Fishers Lane Suite 4076 MSC 9305
Rockville, Maryland

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