Release Date:  June 3, 1999

PA NUMBER:  PA-99-109

National Institute of General Medical Sciences


The purpose of this Program Announcement (PA) is to encourage, through a new
initiative, collaborative and integrative approaches to research on
multifaceted biological problems.  While the traditional R01 research project
grant remains the backbone of NIH and NIGMS support for biomedical science,
individual R01 grants may be inadequate to support larger efforts that require
collaborative approaches.  In some cases, individual investigators with
existing R01 or R37 support, or other sources of independent funding, will
need to attract and coordinate expertise in different disciplines and
approaches, and may require access to specialized resources, such as
computational facilities, high throughput technologies, and equipment. In
order to provide a new mechanism to support such collaborative and interactive
activities, this initiative will use the R24 Consortium Grant mechanism,
designed for groups of currently funded investigators.

This PA is one of a pair of new initiatives to increase support opportunities
for collaborative ventures.  It is restricted to collaborative activities that
require support of up to $300,000 direct costs per year.  A companion
initiative, GM-99-007 
(, was published 
in the guide on May 28, 1999, and is a one-time solicitation to provide a high 
level of resources to allow investigators to extend their research efforts and 
to form a research consortium to address a research problem in a comprehensive 
and highly integrated fashion.

This PA also strongly encourages consideration of existing and previously
announced mechanisms whenever appropriate, to enhance collaborative and
integrative approaches to research problems.  These include: administrative
supplements to NIGMS-funded research grants; competitive supplements to NIGMS-
funded research grants; individual R01 grants containing a consortium
arrangement for a collaborative component; program project (P01) and center
(P50) grants; and Interactive Research Project Grants (IRPG).


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This PA, Support of Integrative and
Collaborative Approaches to Research, is related to one or more of the
priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People
2000" at


Applications must be for projects in the areas of research supported by NIGMS. 
Applicants should visit the NIGMS website at for
detailed information on NIGMS areas of research interest.  Applicants are
strongly advised to contact the NIGMS staff listed below, prior to submission,
to discuss the eligibility of a proposed application. Applicants also are
referred to an informational page with frequently asked questions and answers
at URL

Only Principal Investigators (PIs) of NIGMS-funded R01 or R37 grants with two
or more years of support remaining at the time of award will be eligible to
submit applications for which they will be a consortium leader for
collaborative activities. One consortium leader, coordinating a minimum of two
funded projects for the duration of the R24 Award, may apply for additional
resources to support collaborative and integrative approaches and activities
needed to better address a common biological problem. Other participating
members of the consortium must have grant support from either NIGMS or another
NIH Institute or Center, or have other external, peer-reviewed research grant
support, and they can be located either at the same institution as the
consortium leader, or at different institutions. Component projects do not
have to be in phase with the grant support of the consortium leader. Component
projects may end or be renewed during the R24 award as long as a minimum of
two collaborative projects is maintained. Replacement or addition of
participating components with access to consortium support will be considered
for approval by NIGMS, as long as the overall scientific goals remain the

Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private institutions, such as universities,
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and
eligible agencies of the Federal government.  Participation from industry is
permitted and encouraged when scientifically justified.  Racial/ethnic
minority individuals, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to
apply as principal investigators.  Participating members also may be from the
above organizations and institutions.


This PA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project
grant (R24) award mechanism. Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant. The
total project period for an application submitted in response to this PA may
not exceed four years.  Funded consortia will be eligible for only one
competitive renewal application. The R24 Consortium Grant mechanism will be
used to support activities that will substantially enhance the conduct of the
already funded research projects through collaborative activities. A maximum
of $300,000 direct costs per year will be provided for all or some of the

o  Salaries for personnel that bridge or add to the intellectual and
technological approaches of the individual consortium components

o  Travel expenses for collaborative activities

o  Specialized training of personnel in cross disciplinary concepts and

o  Equipment

o  Access to resources, such as those for genomics, high throughput
technologies, bioinformatics and computational services, electronic
communication media to facilitate participation of off site laboratories and
collaborative capabilities

o  Facilities for model organisms

Other Available Mechanisms of Support

Before pursuing the R24 mechanism of this PA, individual investigators are
strongly encouraged to first consider mechanisms already in place that can be
used for the support of collaborative and interactive activities. These
include: administrative or competing
( supplements to
research grants, which could be used to add a collaborator or a resource to an
individual funded grant; program projects and centers
(, which could be
used to provide research and core support to a group of investigators seeking
new funds for collaborative activities and projects; the Interactive Research
Project Grant (IRPG) mechanism (
PA-96-001.html), for individual R01 applicants seeking interactive resources; 
and a consortium component of an R01 grant, for investigators applying for a 
grant in which they wish support for a collaborator. Applicants should contact 
NIGMS staff for advice on the most appropriate mechanism to achieve their goals.


Background and Rationale

Biomedical science has entered an era in which collaboration across
disciplines is essential to tackle many multifaceted biological problems. 
This increased need for collaborative and integrative approaches stems from
the rapid progress in understanding biology at the molecular level.  Although
much remains to be done in defining and analyzing molecular events, a wealth
of molecular details can now be used to increase our understanding of the
global control and integration of many biological processes.  This effort will
require the involvement of groups of scientists and a diversity of resources.

It is unrealistic to expect that all laboratories will have the breadth of
expertise and resources to pursue problems that
increasingly require the application of multiple approaches.  Investigators
with expertise in disciplines such as physics, engineering, mathematics, and
computer science increasingly will be needed to realize the full potential of
biomedical research.  Furthermore, the ability to attack multifaceted problems
will involve sophisticated data collection and access to rapidly evolving
technologies.  However, technologies and approaches such as combinatorial
chemistry, DNA chips, high throughput mass spectrometric analysis, and
bioinformatics are not readily
available and affordable to many laboratories that could benefit from their


The purpose of this Program Announcement (PA) is to encourage, through a new
initiative, collaborative and integrative approaches to research on
multifaceted biological problems .problems. The goal is to make additional
resources available to groups of already funded investigators for
collaborative activities, via the use of the R24 Consortium Grant mechanism. 
The additional funds must support activities that are likely to significantly
enhance existing capabilities and introduce new approaches to the research
aims.  This mechanism is not intended to simply support core facilities for
the purpose of access or efficiency of use.  The requested resources must
facilitate the collaboration and integration of the component projects and
support a synthesis of information that would not take place if each grant
were given its own resource facility.  All areas of research traditionally
supported by NIGMS will be considered as appropriate for the participating
components of the R24 Consortium mechanism. Applicants are advised to visit
the NIGMS website at for detailed information on
NIGMS areas of research interest.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the
research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994
(FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 23,
No. 11, March 18, 1994 available on the web at the following URL address:


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. 
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt
dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant
information concerning the policy.


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 398 (rev.
4/98) and will be accepted at the standard application deadlines as indicated
in the application kit.  Application kits are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Division of
Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health,
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone
301/435-0714, email:

The title and number of the PA must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the
application form and the YES box must be marked.

The Background section must include a description of the already funded
component projects that is sufficient to enable an assessment of the degree to
which the R24 Consortium Grant would facilitate collaborative and integrative
approaches to the research problem. This section also should contain a
rationale for why the requested consortium support is likely to significantly
enhance progress on the research problem, beyond what could be accomplished
with the individual research grant support. The Experimental Plan should
contain a description of the approaches and how they will be accomplished to
further the research goals. The principal investigator should describe how the
activities will be coordinated and made accessible to all participating
components. Applicants also should include specific plans for sharing data and
materials that may be generated through the consortium grant. The Resources
section should address existing intellectual and other resources.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and five signed photocopies in one package to:

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)


Applications will be assigned on the basis of established NIH referral
guidelines.  Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit
by an appropriate scientific review group convened in accordance with standard
NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the initial merit review, all
applications will receive a written critique and undergo a process in which
only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally
the top half of the applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a
priority score, and receive a second level review by the appropriate national
advisory council or board.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In
the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research
will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of these
criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score,
weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the application
does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major
scientific impact and thus deserve a favorable priority score.  For example,
an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is
not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(1) Significance:  Will the integrative and collaborative studies supported by
this application further research on an important problem?  If the goals of
the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  What
will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or approaches that drive
this field?

(2) Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses
adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of
component projects?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas
and consider alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or

(4) Investigator:  Is the consortium leader appropriately trained and well
suited to oversee this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the
experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers?

(5) Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed activities
take advantage of unique features of the participating grantees or employ
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional

Additional Review Criteria

o Will the proposed collaborative and integrative activities and/or resources
significantly enhance the ability of the investigators to address the research
goals of the funded component projects?

o Are the component projects suitable for a collaborative and integrative

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all
applications also will be reviewed with respect to the following:

o The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects also will be

o The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the
proposed research

o The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals or the
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project
proposed in the application.

The initial review group also will examine the provisions for the protection
of human subjects and the safety of the research environment.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications. For NIGMS, the following will be considered in making funding
decisions: Quality of the proposed collaborative activities as determined by
peer review, the degree to which the collaborative components and/or
activities will significantly enhance the conduct of the research, program
priority, and availability of funds.


Inquiries are strongly encouraged to determine the responsiveness of proposed
applications to the PA.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions
from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

James Cassatt, Ph.D.
Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Building 45, Room 2AS19
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-0828
FAX:  (301) 480-2004

Judith Greenberg, Ph.D.
Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Building 45, Room 2AS25
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-0943
FAX:  (301) 480-2228

Michael Rogers, Ph.D.
Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Building 45, Room 2AS49
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3827
FAX:  (301) 480-2802

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Marcia Cohn
Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Building 45, Room 2AN44
Bethesda, MD  20892-6200
Telephone:  (301) 594-3918
FAX:  (301) 480-2554


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.821, 93.859, 93.862.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public
Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public
Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under NIH Grants Policy
statement  (10/1/98) and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74. 
This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of
Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In
addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking
in certain facilities (or in some cases, and portion of a facility) in which
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care or early
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of
the American people.

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